The Supreme Court compromised Monday in a major voting rights case, finding that a powerful enforcement tool in the landmark Voting Rights Act was being applied too broadly.
The Supreme Court avoided the larger constitutional issue in the voting rights case.
However, the decision avoided the larger issue of whether the federal government should continue to have oversight to ensure local areas are free of voter discrimination.
By a unanimous vote, the justices allowed states and local communities more power to challenge the "preclearance" provision of the 1965 law. That provision provides continuing federal control over election practices in 16 states, based on past discrimination against minority voters.
Other states are not covered by the provision even if they, too, might discriminate against minority voters.
"Things have changed in the South. Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. "Past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the preclearance requirements.
"The Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs."
The 9-0 vote reflects the consensus the justices reached, putting aside for now the larger, more difficult questions on race and discrimination.
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