Today’s Featured Blogger is good friend of The Block and active in social justice arena around the country. His tireless work for the community is why I reached out to him for some perspective on the Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Here is expert analysis from Abstraktmind.
This week the United States Supreme Court struck a devastating blow in election protections for minority communities. I have had many conversations with respected legal experts about what the outcome of the Shelby case would be and nobody saw today’s decision occurring. While the Supreme Court decision did not invalidate the constitutionality Section 5 it did deliver a kidney shot which has Section 5 down but not out. I think Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Co-Counsel for NAACP Legal and Defense and Education Fund said it best when she said, “This is like letting you keep your car, but taking away the keys.”
If Section 5 is the teeth to the Voting Rights Act, Section 4 would be the muscles in your jaw. Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act created the formula to figure out which states would be covered by Section 5. The Supreme Court in today’s decision stated that “Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.” While this decision does not physically remove section 5 from the Voting Rights Act it makes it ineffective until Congress can come up with a new formula for Section 4. Over the past 5 years Congress has shown that doing nothing is what they are best at doing and I highly doubt they will be able to come up with a new meaningful formula for Section 4 on their own. Please understand that this ruling does not completely do away with the Voting Rights Act, it just makes it more difficult & costly to win cases.
This is where the Black community comes in. The collective voice & power of our community is still a very strong one that can accomplish great things. Ever since the results of the 2012 Presidential elections you’ve heard the GOP & pundits talk about the need of the Republican party to increase their minority outreach. This is not a great way to do it. It will be even more hurtful for those members in Congress to ignore the need & importance of Section 4 and do nothing about it. If you live in Texas, or watch some of the National news channels you have heard about the hundreds of women & men who have been storming the Texas Capitol building over SB 5, dealing with women rights or eliminating abortion clinics (depending on what side you fall on). It has been refreshing to see because it is a reminder of how people who feel like they can’t take anymore will react when they are at their limit. It’s funny cause last night I was having a conversation with my friend Sarah Uphoff on how much worse it will have to get for Black folks before they wake up & get what is happening to them. Maybe this is something that will awaken the sleeping giant. Oukast once said, “You need to get up get out and get something, don’t let the days of your life pass you by…
How do you feel about the ruling of the Supreme Court? Do you think there is still a clear and present threat to your right to vote? to any citizen’s right to vote? Does it matter, do you even vote?