Monthly Archives: October 2014


Recently the Supreme Court has begun the process of dealing with the judicial consequences of its decision last year to invalidate the key enforcement provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That 2013 decision forbids the Justice Department to use the preclearance power given it by Congress in 1965 and several occasions since. Under these statutes Congress has exercised the authority clearly assigned to it by the Constitution’s 14th and 15th Amendments to protect the right to vote that many Southern states had denied to people of color. More recent cases have shown that the Court also will not use its judicial power to avoid the same abuses. Sadly the combination of last year’s decision and this year’s follow ups leave no doubt that the Court’s five man majority is actively interested in crippling the power of African Americans to continue to grow in the exercise of voting power. Last month the Court rubber stamped North Carolina’s legislation making more difficult efforts to register new voters and to vote early. Last week similar Texas legislation was rubber stamped by the same five jurists who had ruled that these states no longer needed to abide by federal law in implementing changes in registration and elections. A constitutional amendment is badly needed to affirm what the constitution undoubtedly intends—that race must not be the overt or covert motive for state governments to impair the access of Black Americans to full and effective participation in this republic.