U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, yesterday, attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the case of Merrill v. Milligan. The case will decide whether Alabama’s redrawn congressional map violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) by diluting the voting power of African Americans in the state. In Alabama, African Americans make up nearly one third of eligible voters but hold a majority in only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts.
“We in Alabama are no strangers to the fight for fair representation,” said Rep. Sewell. “After all, it was in Selma—almost six decades ago—where John Lewis and so many Foot Soldiers shed blood on a bridge for the equal right of all Americans to vote. But today, we know that old battles have become new again. As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 remains on life-support, states across the nation are racing to restrict voting access to dilute our power and erase our progress. Today, they are taking aim at one of the last remaining provisions of the VRA, Section 2.”
“Fair representation matters,” continued Sewell. “I urge our Justices to do what is right and uphold the protections that our foremothers and forefathers fought so hard to secure. I also urge the Senate to do its job and pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the full power of the VRA.”
In 2013, with the late Congressman John Lewis by her side, Rep. Sewell attended the oral arguments of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder case which gutted Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and marked the beginning of the Court’s sustained assault on the nation’s most consequential voting rights law.
“While John Lewis is no longer with us, I know that he will is watching from above as we once again strive to bring our nation closer to its highest ideals,” continued Sewell. “It is up to each of us to ensure his legacy lives on.”