The Voting Rights Act Gets Another Day in Court

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Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act covers all of nine states and localities in seven others whose histories of racial discrimination in voting led Congress to require them to get federal permission whenever they change voting laws. First passed in 1965, after voting-rights marchers were attacked by sheriff's deputies in Selma, Alabama, it's been extended several times, most recently in 2006, with huge majorities in the House and the Senate and the signature of President George W. Bush. Today it was lawyers for Shelby County, Alabama whose lawyers told the court the Act is not just out of date, but unconstitutional. During arguments today, the US Supreme Court was sharply divided. Justice Scalia called Section 5 a "racial entitlement." Supporters called it as relevant now as when it was enacted. We hear about the arguments, how they were received and the prospects for a decision in June.




Warren Olney