Washington, D.C. — Today, with a 5-4 decision on Shelby County v. Holder, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court struck down the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. While upholding part of the civil rights law that requires some states to get federal permission to change voting rules, the Court struck down the formula for deciding which jurisdictions are covered, leaving it to Congress to redraw the map. In response, the Center for American Progress’s Tom Perriello issued the following statement:
From our nation’s founding to the suffrage and civil rights movements, the right of every citizen to vote has been the foundation of our democracy, a foundation reinforced and expanded by each generation. That uniquely American march of progress was turned backward today by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. This conservative majority ignored both our history and our present realities, gravely damaging one of the most important civil rights protections of the past 100 years.
After growing up in the South, I shared Justice Roberts’ hope that voter suppression was just a stain on our past, but anyone who has spent time in the real world of American politics in the last decade knows it remains alive, insidious, and systematic today.
The majority overruled a bipartisan commitment to liberty and provided indefensible cover to partisan efforts across the country to rig elections. Americans believe in the fundamental right to vote, regardless of race or neighborhood, but like generations before us, we must do our part to defend that right to vote and ensure that it can be meaningfully exercised by every American.
The following experts are available to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision:
- Tom Perriello, Counselor for Policy to the Center for American Progress, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund
- Andrew Blotky, Director, Legal Progress
- Daniella Gibbs Léger, Senior Vice President, American Values & New Communities
- Ian Millhiser, Senior Policy Analyst, Constitutional Policy
- Legal Progress Toolkit: Why Courts Matter: Voting Rights and Shelby County v. Holder
- 5 Reasons Why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Enhances Our Democracy
To speak with CAP experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6277.