ShareThis Page

Civil-rights setback

| Sunday, July 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A major setback for advocates of civil rights occurred when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a major provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 unconstitutional. In a partisan ruling in the conservative majority's favor, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that much has changed in the South and it is no longer necessary to require Southern states with problematic civil-rights histories to receive Justice Department “preclearance” to change voting procedures.

While the conservative justices agreed the law was unconstitutional, they did not give any constitutional reason why, other than that times have changed. I hate to break it to them, but times have changed for the better because of the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act, perhaps the most important piece of civil-rights legislation, protected minority voters from unjust voting laws, such as poll taxes and literacy exams. Now that the law has been struck down, Southern states are free to change their voting laws as they please, and some already have. Five Southern states moved forward with passing voter ID legislation, similar to the law proposed in Pennsylvania. These laws directly target minority voters in Republican states, as they often overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates.

With the Voting Rights Act gone, Republican-controlled legislatures have the ability to build a permanent majority of conservative politicians. By making it difficult for the poor, elderly and minorities to vote, Republicans will have a significant advantage in national elections.

Joseph Samuel Rogers


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.