By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled largely in favor of Shelby County’s challenge of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and section four of the Voting Rights Act that requires that states like Alabama must obtain pre-approval of all changes in election procedure especially redistricting and reapportionment from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Shelby County argued successfully that the time for the harsh terms of section five has passed and that the South is not the same as it was nearly 50 years ago when federal forces intervened in Alabama and other Southern states to end segregation and the Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress making the U.S. Department of Justice the ultimate authority in how states, counties, and even cities must draw their district lines. Only 20 states are required to go through the costly and time consuming pre-clearance process. Sec. Holder and the DOJ argued that the Voting Rights Act is constitutional and pre-clearance is still necessary. Most of the civil rights community supported Holder in this cause.
Alabama state Senator Cam Ward (R) from Alabaster said on on Twitter Tuesday, “The real challenge is for the states held hostage to the Voting Rights Act to prove themselves worthy of decision.”.
The case has drawn national attention to Shelby County. Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farakhan visited Columbiana to rally in support of the Voting Rights Act.
A group of Shelby County residents are even trying to organize a NAACP chapter in the suburban county. Pastor Kenneth Dukes was quoted by the Shelby County Reporter, “.The NAACP started about colored people, but today it’s about human rights, people who have been discriminated against because of race. You don’t have to be a certain color to join and don’t have to live in Shelby County to be a member.” The group vowed to continue to organize and fight for human rights whatever the verdict.