High Court to Hear Challenge to Voting Rights Act

Provision forcing local governments, mainly in South, to clear changes with feds at issue
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 3:23 PM CST
The steps of the US Supreme Court.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US Supreme Court agreed today to hear a case that challenges a central section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act designed to protect minority voters in discriminatory districts, the New York Times reports. Section 5 of the law, which forces many Southern states and select districts elsewhere to get permission from the federal government before changing election rules, is at issue.

The plaintiff is a Texas district incorporated in the 1980s that claims it has no history of discrimination, and seeks self-determination and the removal of stigma associated with the classification. Chief Justice John Roberts fought against the 1982 extension of the requirement; President Bush urged the court not to hear the case.