House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the Supreme Court's ruling against Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act:
"Today's Supreme Court ruling is extremely disappointing. For many years, I and others have traveled with civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the historic 1965 march for voting rights and reflect on the need for the Voting Rights Act and its continued importance today. I disagree with the Court's decision to invalidate Section 4, which essentially undoes the critical protections of Section 5 as well.
"For nearly half a century, the Voting Rights Act has protected ballot-access for millions who had been disenfranchised in gross violation of our nation's founding principles. Congress has a responsibility to preserve the gains achieved by the Voting Rights Act and expand safeguards for eligible voters. In 2006, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act on a bipartisan basis, under a Republican president, making the determination that Sections 4 and 5 were not only still relevant, but essential to protecting all Americans' right to vote.
"It is now incumbent upon Congress to look carefully at our voting system and devise a coverage formula for pre-clearance that will protect every American's equal access to the ballot and ensure that minorities are not subjected to discriminatory practices by state or local authorities, and ensure that the US Department of Justice has all the tools it needs to prevent unjust voting practices from being implemented. In light of today's ruling, I urge the House and Senate to come together and act swiftly."