SCOTUS asked to review Voting Rights Act

Monday, September 24, 2012
Chad Groening (

A black conservative organization is asking the Supreme Court to review the controversial Voting Rights Act, which it believes is outdated and unfair to a number of states.

In a recent legal brief, the Project 21 - a project of The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives - asks the Supreme Court to accept a case regarding the constitutionality of a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that treats modern-day state and local government decisions as if they were made by the Dixiecrats of long ago. Specifically, the black conservative group says the Section 5 "preclearance" standard is now being enforced in Shelby County, Alabama, "as if George Wallace is still governor."

David Almasi is a spokesman for Project 21.

Almasi, David (Project 21)"The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 at a time when there was segregation, when there was open discrimination, and [when] there was hostility towards minorities voting," he notes. "Unfortunately every time the act comes up for renewal, no one wants to touch it because they're afraid the race card is going to be played against them."

In 2006, during the Bush administration, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act until 2031. But Almasi says the Obama administration has taken advantage of Section 5 to prevent states like Texas and South Carolina from passing voter ID laws.

"The Justice Department will use preclearance standards as a weapon to stop voter ID to stop commonsense voter protections," he argues.

Almasi says because the Voting Rights Act has become politicized, it is up to the Supreme Court to rectify the legislative branch's "lack of leadership." The case Project 21 is asking the high court to consider is Shelby County, Alabama v. Eric H. Holder, Jr.

At the time of its passage, the Voting Rights Act was considered an "extreme temporary measure."

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