Supreme Court Limits Power of Voting Rights Act

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2009 4:26 PM CDT
The US Supreme Court is shown February 5, 2009 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court ruled today that a part of the Voting Rights Act aimed at helping minorities elect their preferred candidates only applies in electoral districts where minorities make up more than half the population, the AP reports. The decision could make it harder for some minority candidates to win election and for southern Democrats, in particular, to draw friendly electoral boundaries after the 2010 Census.

The 5-4 decision, led by conservatives, came in the case of a North Carolina plan that sought to preserve the influence of African-American voters by ensuring that new districts can't be drawn in a way that reduces their political clout—even though they make up only 39% of the district. The high court ruled in favor of North Carolina law, which dictates that voting districts can't split up counties.