“The Demise of Section 5; The Now Irrelevant Provision of the Voting Rights Act May Soon Be No More”

Abigail Thernstrom:

Minority-voting-rights activists are all aflutter over the possibility that the Supreme Court will soon hold an important section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional — or at least in need of drastic modification. Section 5 is the provision whose life may be on the line. It gives federal authorities the power to veto proposed new methods of voting in what are called “covered jurisdictions” — almost all of them in the South — if they see them as racially suspect. That constitutionally extraordinary power may not survive a new round of close judicial scrutiny — although the Court’s view of Section 5 may end up being quite irrelevant to the long-run fate of the provision.

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