More than forty years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, can the United States Justice Department trust voting jurisdictions with long histories of discrimination to make their own laws?
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case involving Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, The New Yorker’s Jeffery Toobin discusses the modern role of the provision. In order to protect the rights of minority voters who were previously left out with “grandfather clauses” and the like, Section 5 states that any changes in voting requirements for specific jurisdictions with histories of discrimination must be directly approved by the Justice Department. The case in question would remove these restrictions, giving autonomy back to previously earmarked municipalities in the South and West.
What lessons did the last election teach America about race and voting patterns? In 2009, can the federal government place trust in these communities?
— Norah Mallaney