Vice President Joseph Biden today urged the Supreme Court to uphold a provision of the Voting Rights Act that gives the federal government ongoing oversight of ballot collecting in states with histories of discrimination.
Speaking at annual memorial festivities in Selma, Ala., commemorating the 1965 civil rights marchthere, the vice president told a crowd including some of those original activists, “you know it continues on today.”
“Look folks, here we are, 48 years after what you did, and we’re still fighting,” he said.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 struck down Jim Crow segregation laws and other measures designed to impede or otherwise disenfranchise black voters. It has been renewed four times, most recently in 2006 when it passed Congress near-unanimously.
But last week conservative justices on the Supreme Court indicated they were ready to void a section of the law that requires certain states, mostly in the South, to seek federal approval for any changes to their voting regulations.
“Section Five of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, OK? I even got credit getting [Sen.] Strom Thurmond to vote for its reauthorization in the Senate,” Biden said, referring to the late, formerly segregationist lawmaker. “Strom Thurmond voted for its reauthorization in the Senate, and yet it’s being challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States of America as we stand here today.”
On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern that in its renewal Congress had used an outdated “coverage formula” that singled out certain states unfairly. Justice Antonin Scalia warned of “racial entitlements” that he said would prove “very difficult” to get rid of through democratic processes.
h/t ABC News0