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The Future Of The Voting Rights Act51:03
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With Anthony Brooks in for Tom Asbhrook

We’ll hear voices from the South on race, justice and elections after the Supreme Court Voting Rights' Act intervention.

Ryan P. Haygood, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, talks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, about the Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Ryan P. Haygood, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, talks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, about the Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Voting Rights Act was the monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, a powerful federal response to racist policies like poll taxes and literacy tests that kept blacks home on Election Day. But that was 1965.

Today southern blacks vote at even higher rates than whites. So this week the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the law, freeing mostly southern states to change their election laws without federal approval.

This hour, On Point: A southern perspective on race, change and the Voting Rights Act.

Guests

Vernon Burton, professor of history at Clemson University, whose research focuses on the American South, race relations and community.

Kareem Crayton, professor of law at University of North Carolina School of Law, whose work integrates law, politics and race. He led a group of academics who submitted an amicus brief (PDF) in Shelby County v. Holder.

Ronald Keith Gaddie, professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma, whose work focuses on elections and Southern politics. He's author of "The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South." (@KeithGaddie)

Interview Highlights

"The question is just whether things have improved to the extent that this is no longer needed. Congress in 2006 decided that more time was needed; the Court seems to say, 'Well, we’re not so sure.'"

Kareem Crayton

From The Reading List

SCOTUS Blog: Special Feature: The Court And TheVoting Rights Act

SCOTUS Blog: Shelby County Decision In Plain English -- "[Tuesday's] decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a new challenge to the preclearance requirements, boils down to a new message to Congress: we warned you, you didn’t listen, and now it’s your problem to fix."

NPR: Supreme Court: Congress Has To Fix Broken Voting Rights Act -- "The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the linchpin of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, freeing nine mostly Southern states from federal oversight. By a 5-to-4 vote, the court invalidated the formula — adopted most recently in 2006 — used to determine which states had to get federal approval for changes in their voting laws. The decision provoked dismay and outrage in the civil rights community."

The New York Times: Between The Lines Of The Voting Rights Act Opinion -- "The decision in Shelby County v. Holder revolves around Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which establishes a 'coverage formula' to determine which states and local governments fall under Section 5, and therefore need to get approval before changing their voting laws. The justices ruled that Section 4 is unconstitutional, and that the formula used for decades — revised and extended several times by Congress — can no longer be used to establish those "preclearance" requirements." [INTERACTIVE]

This program aired on June 27, 2013.

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