Voting
5:15 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Supreme Court Takes Up Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Leaders Voice Support

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case that could considerably weaken a key part of the Voting Rights Act.  Texas civil rights leaders say Latino and African American voters in the state will certainly be discriminated against should a part of the Voting Rights Act be struck down. 

The case before the nation’s high court, Shelby County v. Holder, is a constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  This section prevents states like Texas and Arizona -- both with a history of voter discrimination -- from changing their voting procedures without proving they won't hurt minorities.

Texas representative Trey Martinez Fischer said that without the Voting Right Act, Hispanic voters in Texas would be intentionally discriminated against.

"We have lots of evidence in both the Texas redistricting case and the voter ID case that will suggest very clearly that just what could happen without Section 5," Martinez Fischer said.

Under Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Texas lost court battles for redistricting and voter ID, which the courts found to discriminate against minorities in Texas.

"So when I hear people like General Abbott say Section 5 has outlived it’s purpose – we no longer need section 5 – I think what he’s telling you is that he’s tired of losing under Section 5," Martinez Fischer said.

Abbott has filed a "friend of the court" brief asking for the Voting Rights Act to be voided. He said it’s another example of the federal government interfering with the rights of states and it is an unnecessary burden to states.