Francis Di Domizio wrote: Seemed more like they said the map drawn in the 1960s is horribly out of date and rather than fix it piecemeal it's time to find a more current way of determining what states and counties are violating minority voting rights.
I generally agree with you, and am unsurprised that the SC ruled as it did.
But there is more to this story to consider, and I am rethinking my position. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan- ... 06-25.html
RAY SUAREZ: But Section 4, which was specifically struck down today, didn't apply to the nation as a whole. It applied to certain sections of the country that were singled out for extra scrutiny from Congress. Could you imagine a time where those places would come out from under that? Because, today, the Supreme Court could.
SHERRILYN IFILL: Sure. Sure. I can imagine a time, and I don't even have to imagine it, because the law also includes a provision called bailout that allows jurisdictions that have not run afoul of the Voting Rights Act over a 10-year period to be removed from the requirements of the law.
And every jurisdiction that has sought bailout since the enactment of the statute has been granted bailout. All Shelby County, Ala., had to do and all the state of Alabama has to do is not discriminate against racial minorities in voting for 10 years to get out from under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
So there's a door out, but the door out is premised on a jurisdiction that ensures that its voting processes are equal, open, and fair.
SHERRILYN IFILL: If Mr. Blum could live with that, then he wouldn't have been behind the effort to challenge the Voting Rights Act, because, in fact, I just described a bailout provision in the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act has a bail-in provision.
It allows jurisdictions that are not covered by Section 5 of the act who have engaged in discrimination and who have been found by a judge to engage in discrimination to be bailed in. Arkansas was bailed in for a time. New Mexico was bailed in for a time. So any jurisdiction, including the jurisdictions that you have identified, who have engaged in voting practices that have been found by a judge to discriminate in voting can under the strictures of Section 5 be bailed into the Voting Rights Act.
The genius of the statute is that it has a door that goes both ways. The problem is that jurisdictions, many jurisdictions, have not simply done the job that they need to do in order to be permitted to get out.
RAY SUAREZ: But, as you heard Mr. Blum point out, Congress was also not using the mechanics that's right there in the law to separate the good and bad actors.
SHERRILYN IFILL: Well, I'm not sure exactly what that means. The mechanics that are in the law are the provisions that allow jurisdictions working with the Justice Department and federal judges to allow jurisdictions to either exit or to compel jurisdictions to enter the provisions of the act.
Congress made a statute that it thought was going to survive precisely because it had this ability to move states in and out. What Congress did in 2006 was it looked at the current states that were under the provisions of Section 5 and it looked at voting discrimination in those states to determine whether they should still be covered, and what it found, to its surprise, I should say, was that there was an overwhelming evidence of voting discrimination continuing in those covered jurisdictions.
And as a result, Congress reauthorized the formula to cover those jurisdictions and maintain the bailout and bail-in provisions that allow some states to come in or jurisdictions to come in and some jurisdictions to go out.