With the historic unveiling of the Rosa Parks statue in the U.S. Capitol occurring just steps away, hundreds of people rallied in front of the Supreme Court this week in support of voting rights. The high court heard oral arguments in the case of Shelby County vs. Holder, which challenges the validity of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires 16 states with with a history of discriminatory voting practices to submit any voting law changes to the Justice Department for review and pre-approval.
Chanelle Hardy (Executive Director, National Urban League Policy Institute) addressed the rally on behalf of the Urban League.
Rally for Voting Rights at the U.S. Supreme Court
On February 27, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could turn back the clock on voting rights in the U.S.
Although an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of Congress reauthorized the VRA in 2006 for 25 more years, ShelbyCounty v. Holder threatens the very heart of the Voting Rights Act and challenges the constitutionality of the critical pre-clearance provision—known as Section 5. Section 5 of the VRA requires jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to receive preapproval from the Justice Department or a federal district court in D.C. for any change to their voting rules to ensure such changes do not discriminate against voters who are racial, ethnic or language minorities.
The flagrant and aggressive voter suppression efforts that occurred in many of the very states subject to Section 5 preclearance during the past election underscores that this critical measure is still necessary to protect the fundamental right to vote.
On February 27th, the Urban League and other civil rights, religious, labor and social justice groups rallied to protect the Voting Rights Act, on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The Urban League has joined other civil rights organizations in signing on to an amicus brief in support of Section 5, and was represented at the rally by Chanelle Hardy, Executive Director, National Urban League Policy Institute.