In a case brought before the US Supreme Court, Shelby County, Alabama argued that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional, mainly Section 4 which deals with a formula that determines which jurisdictions have to get approval from the Department of Justice for precinct changes. They argued that times have changed, and the practices used to block minority voters during the Civil Rights Era aren't in use anymore, so that section of the act needed to be thrown out, and the Supreme Court agreed, to an extent. Edward Blum, who represented Shelby County, says that this is a good thing for all Americans.
"Those living in the north and especially those living in the south who have labored to ensure that the goal of racial equality in voting has been fulfilled."
Longtime Meridian Attorney Bill Ready Sr. who represented many who felt their rights were violated wasn't so pleased with the court's decision. He agrees that times have changed and that the law needs to be updated, but he doesn't necessarily believe this is the right way to do it.
"I'm just not sure that this country, right now, understands what it's giving up if it gives up this."
One thing both sides can agree on is that all states should be governed by the same laws, but Blum believes that no state should have these types of stipulations, while Ready thinks they all should.
"Our nation's laws are one size fits all and each state is entitled the equal dignity and respect of our congressional statutes."
"There are sections of the country other than the original 13 states to which it primarily applies. There are other sections of the country that do need the law applying to them."
Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is headed to Congress to be updated as they see fit.