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Scott Statement on Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act Ruling


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Shelby County v. Holder:

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is a disappointing setback for voting rights. While I am pleased that the Court left Section 5 intact, it ruled Section 4 unconstitutional, the Section that determines the formula that is used to establish which state and local governments must comply with Section 5's preapproval process. The Supreme Court based its opinion on the fact that minority voter turnout has increased over the last few elections. However, the Voting Rights Act not only protects the right to vote, but also ensures that discriminatory practices and schemes that dilute votes are blocked.

"While considering reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, Congress received over 15,000 pages of documentation from covered states showing the continued need for their coverage. These states were covered "the old fashioned way: they earned it." Jurisdictions that feel that they are inappropriately covered have a process by which they can be "bailed out." In fact, many jurisdictions have bailed out by showing that they were no longer discriminating in their election procedures. Just yesterday, Hanover County, Virginia was cleared to bailout.

"Congress must immediately call hearings to ascertain which jurisdictions should be covered under a new formula. In the meantime, the Attorney General should use his powers under other parts of the Voting Rights Act to file for injunctions on the implementation of many pending laws that would have been subject to Section 5 but for today's decision. This includes laws pending in North Carolina and the voter ID law in Virginia, which were unlikely to be precleared under Section 5."

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