Supreme Court Battle Over Voting Rights Act
NAACP attorney Daniel Ho tells Alan about the fight over preserving the Voting Rights Act.
- Duration 8:35
- Date Feb 20, 2013
NAACP attorney Daniel Ho tells Alan about the fight over preserving the Voting Rights Act.
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And Allentown morning welcome mud dale hollow assistant counsel of the political participation group NAACP.
Legal defense fund they'll -- that -- -- -- appreciated very much.
-- don't of course I would we're talking about the Supreme Court it's gonna hear oral arguments and Shelby county vs Alabama.
I'm sorry Shelby county Alabama vs holder and -- -- 27.
And Shelby county brought this challenge.
Contending that the provisions of section five of the civil another -- -- the the voting rights act.
Are no longer necessary -- outlived their usefulness.
And in fact some of discrimination is still goes on let's talk about what section five does so the early -- -- understand were coming from.
Sure so the voting rights act is maybe the most important civil rights statute in our nation's history and section five is the most important part of the voting rights act.
It requires certain parts of the country those parts that have the worst history's.
Voting discrimination and continuing problems.
We discrimination to get federal approval before they changed their vote August.
And then this happens mostly in southern states in their -- -- number of southern politicians.
Like Haley Barbour for example or not too pleased.
That they are somehow.
Smeared in their view -- this they wanna get rid of it.
That's right most of the places where section five -- are.
In fact in the south because those of the parts of the country that have the worst problems.
But voting discrimination now folks who want to challenge the voting rights act.
Are right about one thing -- -- -- the country has seen a tremendous.
Amount of progress since 1965 when the voting rights act was first enacted now that progress.
Is really largely the result of the voting rights act itself and even that we've had progress.
We don't really have significant problems -- voting discrimination progress doesn't mean that all of our problems are behind us.
And it doesn't mean that this law which has been upheld by the Supreme Court four times over four decades is now suddenly unconstitutional.
For example -- 20061.
City within Shelby county.
Enacted a discriminatory redistricting plan without complying with section five leading to -- -- -- only African American councilman.
And that's really -- -- would -- to this case right.
-- -- exactly I'm Shelby county.
Take advantage of this one part of the statute that allows jurisdictions that have clean record to get out from federal oversight it's called the bailout.
Provisions so if you haven't back.
Change that you have a discriminated in been in recent times there's a way to get out.
The statute requirement Shelby county can't do that because -- city within Shelby county.
Didn't -- Federal approval for voting changes the way that the law requires and what they did what they dismantled.
The only district in that city that elected an African American and as a result he wasn't.
He wasn't re elect.
Another example in Philadelphia Mississippi where the murders of three young civil rights workers took place.
In famously in 1964 was called the freedom summer.
And they finally elected a black mayor James Young.
Who took office and he.
Shortly thereafter apparently a couple of -- Democrats which the Republican Party -- they could oppose him and now we can't prove that is racism right but.
-- -- -- -- I didn't.
And so some people switched you know parties and sometimes people try to make this a partisan issue but really voting rights act protect voters.
-- both political party to protect the rights of all of our citizens there -- lots of examples.
In recent times the kind of determination of the voting rights act is designed to prevent just last year.
Our panel of three federal judges unanimously concluded that the state of Texas and it's redistricting plan for -- congress and for the state senate.
Intentionally discriminated against African American and Latino voters and which really remarkable about that is two of those three judges were appointed by George W.
Bush so we're not talking.
People who beard of the political left to see problems voting discrimination when people of all ideological stripes sort of really look at the evidence of what -- states and counties are doing -- -- voting discrimination missile problem.
-- of the big issues that you have during this past election was voter ID laws in Texas Florida South Carolina in particular.
It seems like he went it's a solution in search of a problem because there are very few.
Cases of fraud at the voting Booth -- normally happens when people register to vote.
Not when they vote here -- here in -- seems particularly in red states these are laws are trying to be enacted just to keep.
To keep in particular Democrats away from the polls.
You know the voting rights act protects people all partisan affiliation -- it is really interesting that you see the most stringent voter identification law.
In the same state that always had problems -- voting Texas is one.
Bet that the that a court found enacted the most stringent voter ID law in the country some people would have had to -- made -- hundred mile round trip just to get.
Q the Texas department of public safety and -- that there equivalent of the DMV just to obtain a voter.
And identification card that they could use exercised the most fundamental right in power.
In our democracy so it really is significant problems states like Michigan and New Hampshire which are also subject.
Q section five of the voting rights act they passed voter ID law but -- ideologue who worked as strict and therefore they want blocked by the -- attack.
Doug -- -- -- the NAACP legal defense fund.
You've got -- A situation where.
-- that we've got Supreme Court justices who I wonder where they'll come down on -- you got Roberts the Chief Justice.
Who says that the -- pre clearance requirements and its coverage formula raise serious constitutional questions and Clarence Thomas.
Who says -- extensive pattern of discrimination that led.
To the court to previously -- section five no longer exists there you have two people on record -- which seems would not uphold section five.
Will this court.
Not always the most hospitable place to litigate civil rights cases so there's always a concern when a statute.
That's important like the -- goes before this court put.
-- respected chief Justice Roberts concerned that maybe the problem voting discrimination isn't really limited only to those areas that are covered by section five.
With evidence before congress show was about.
Voting discrimination really remain concentrated in those places 81% of successful voted voting discrimination lawsuits.
Happened in those parts of the country even though they only hold 25%.
Of the population.
That is but the gross gross over representation.
Of the same jurisdictions that have always have the -- problems -- voting discriminate.
Who's doing the oral arguments on your side on coverage when itself.
There will be two lawyers Donald parolee who is the solicitor general of the United States will be representing the federal government.
And the lawyer from our organization -- -- that -- Of the NAACP legal defense fund will be representing a private citizens and voters were protected by the vote.
How do you expect it's gonna go.
Were very optimistic about this case.
Even on the court to kinda leans to the right and is not particularly you've just -- is hospitable.
To this particular issue.
It's -- challenging environment to be litigating there's no doubt about that.
But I think cute things really really.
Standout and -- -- articulate the first -- business that treatment has been upheld by the Supreme Court four times.
In the last 45 -- and there's no reason why it's suddenly become unconstitutional.
In the in the last decade and the second thing -- is that when you really look at the evidence when you really look at it and don't just talk about these things in broad strokes.
We see that these kind of discriminatory practices.
Even though they're less common they were in 1965 -- unfortunately still all too common and congress.
Acted reasonably when it decided.
-- re authorized the voting.
Other people who -- let people believe what we know we -- -- of most of our racial discrimination promised nothing like it was back in the sixties.
Are they hostages other heads in the sand when they say stuff like that.
Well I think you're right that things have improved -- -- an alternative might have in the -- if I didn't acknowledge that fact but.
Do we still need the voting rights act even though there has been improvement yet.
The answers that have to be.
Really that -- and the question that's before the court in this case it's whether congress.
How the power to enact strong legislation to prevent voting discrimination and the answer to -- question.
It undoubtedly yeah.
And there is still voting discrimination absolutely and then that's what additional hoping -- improvement court on the 27 thank you very much for time there was tonight.
After pressure Paramount thanks so much that is -- dale ho assistant counsel of the political participation group the NAACP.
Legal defense fund.