Supreme Court rules on Voting Rights Act

06/22/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The Supreme Court today reached a compromise on the Voting Rights Act that allowed it to sidestep the question of whether a key provision of the landmark civil rights legislation remains constitutional at a time when the nation's racial politics have changed forever.

The court decided that all political subdivisions covered by the provision have the right to prove that they do not discriminate, and thus would not need to have federal authorities approve election law changes. The provision, called Section 5, applies to 9 mostly southern states, as well as in part of 7 others, including Hillsborough County.

Michael Allen is professor of law at Stetson University College of Law. We began by asking what Section 5 is all about.

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