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New Supreme Court Ruling Outrages Many

Victoria L. Johnson Special to AmNews | , By | 6/25/2013, 6:30 p.m.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. This section determines which states or districts need pre-approval by the federal government before changing their voting laws. Section 5, which requires the states to get pre-approval, remains intact.

Now it is up to Congress to decide whether or not they will add a new section to the act to determine which states or districts should abide by Section 5.

The NAACP described the ruling as an "outrage," stating in a press release that the Supreme Court "aided and abetted those who seek to suppress [the] right to vote."

In an statement issued by Attorney General Eric Holder, he cited two instances where Section 4 and 5 were used. One instance was last year, in Texas, when the state requested to change the congressional redistricting map. According to a federal court in Washington, it was not approved on the grounds that it discriminated against Latino voters.

The other instance Holder cited was in South Carolina, a state whose law that requested new photo ID was originally deemed discriminatory against African Americans.

"Without the Section 4 coverage formula, neither of these discriminatory voting changes would have been subject to review and both could have been implemented immediately," Holder stated.

President Obama also expressed his deep disappointment with the decision, and has already joined supporters who have joined the fight to convince Congress to re-enact Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. is one of those supporters.

"I join President Obama in his call for Congress to do the right thing and pass legislation to ensure a fair and equal voting process for Bronxites and all who vote, live and raise their families in this great nation. The time to act is now," Diaz said.

Public advocate Bill de Blasio expressed his disappointment with the ruling as well.

"Americans have bled and died for the right to vote. The Supreme Court's willful amnesia of that struggle is a complete disgrace. To this court, the ability of a state to impede people from voting is somehow more important than a citizen's fundamental right to vote," De Blasio said in a statement.

"Minority communities and civil rights leaders fought too hard and too long to see progress undone. We're going to fight it in legislatures and at the grassroots until these basic rights are restored," de Blasio concluded.