Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) responded to the Supreme Court decision today in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, invalidating the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance provisions of the Act. The Court majority has passed the issue back to Congress.
“Congress must act quickly to reverse today’s erroneous decision by the Supreme Court which overturned several important precedents in a fit of judicial activism. As much as we wish it wasn’t so, racism has not disappeared from America and there continue to be individuals and groups who would use our voting system to deliberately minimize the rights of minority voters. Congress overwhelmingly reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 after building an extensive record that made a compelling case for the continued need to protect minority voters from discrimination. I strongly agree with Justice Ginsburg’s dissent that ‘in truth, the evolution of voting discrimination into more subtle second-generation barriers is powerful evidence that a remedy as effective as preclearance remains vital to protect minority voting rights and prevent backsliding.’” I am deeply disappointed that the Court put voting rights in jeopardy by ignoring reality and disregarding the power of Congress to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution by ‘appropriate legislation.”
Senator Cardin has previously introduced legislation, the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, which would institute tough new criminal and civil penalties for individuals who create and distribute false and deceptive literature designed to suppress minority voters.