Voting Rights Act Before The Supreme Court

Voting Rights Act Before The Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case about the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Diane and guests discuss the key issues in the case and the future of the landmark civil rights law.

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution made it illegal for states to deny voting rights based on race or color. But Southern states enacted poll taxes and literacy tests to keep blacks from voting. Then in 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 of the Act identified nine states for their history of discrimination. The new law required these states to get “pre-clearance” from the government before changing their voting laws. Critics of Section 5 say the formula is outdated and violates states’ rights. But supporters argue voting rights are still at risk in these areas of the country and need special protection. Diane and guests discuss the future of the Voting Rights Act at the Supreme Court.


Jeffrey Rosen

professor at George Washington University Law School and legal affairs editor of The New Republic; author of "The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America"

Sherrilyn Ifill

director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Michael Carvin

partner at Jones Day and former Department of Justice official in the Civil Rights Division, Reagan Administration (1985-1987).

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