Supreme Court case focuses on part of Voting Rights Act
What is Section 5?
This is the part of the Voting Rights Act under review by the high court. The act stipulates that areas of the country with a history of racial discrimination must receive clearance from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any voting law changes.
Why do opponents want to do away with Section 5?
They say that it is outdated. "The violence, intimidation and subterfuge that led Congress to pass Section 5 and this court to uphold it no longer remains," says the Shelby County, Ala., challenge. Over the years, Congress has reauthorized Section 5 several times, most recently in 2006. That decision is at the heart of the current case involving Shelby County. The question before the court is whether Congress' 2006 reauthorization — which extended the provision for another 25 years — exceeded its constitutional authority.
Why do supporters want to keep it?
They believe it's still a necessary preventive measure against changes to voter ID laws, district lines and other adjustments that could threaten the rights of minority voters.