MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Voting Rights Act and Alabama is front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court this week as the Shelby County v. Holder case is heard. A primary focus of the arguments is Section 5 with debate centering on its continued constitutionality and whether it remains a necessary remedy for discouraging ongoing voting discrimination in our country.
Section 5 of the Act requires all or parts of 16 "covered" states, Alabama being one of them, with a history and contemporary records of voter discrimination to seek approval from the federal government prior to instituting voting changes from moving a polling site to redrawing district maps.
Seven years ago Congress decided to extend the law another 25 years with overwhelming bi-partisan support with near unanimous votes. However, there are some that have questioned whether the vote fully represented House and Senate member's full support or if it is just too politically charged to vote against?
Regardless of the reasons, there is still evidence that continued voting rights oversight, provided for by this law, must continue. One need look no further than the poster child for this lawsuit, Shelby County, who has had more than 240 discriminatory voting laws blocked by Section 5 objectives alone. I think that speaks for itself.