The Blaze –
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require federal monitoring of elections.
The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.
The court did not technically strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But the justices did say lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval, in advance, for election changes.
In short, the provision is unenforceable as it stands, but could be updated.
Here’s how the New York Times puts it: “The Supreme Court struck down a central portion of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, effectively ending the practice in which some states with a history of racial discrimination must receive clearance from the federal government before changing voting laws.”
Chief Justice John Roberts said for the conservative majority that Congress “may draft another formula based on current conditions.”
The decision in the case, Shelby County v. Holder, comes five months after President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black chief executive, started his second term in the White House.
You can read the full ruling below: