GA Congressmen react to Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Ac -, GA News Weather & Sports

GA Congressmen react to Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act

(WTVM) -

In a 5 to 4 ruling in the Shelby County v. Holder case on Tuesday, June 25, the Supreme Court ruled Section 4 of the Voting Right Act of 1965 (VRA) unconstitutional.  

The original law requires states like Alabama and Georgia to get federal approval before making any changes to voting districts. The recent ruling upholds this requirement, but describes the current formula as outdated.

Congressional leaders from Georgia are expressing a diversity of opinions about the ruling.

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., 2nd District of Georgia, says he is deeply disappointed by the decision. "It disregards the overwhelming evidence that discrimination still exists at the voting booths," he says.

"The Voting Rights Act is one of the most critical pieces of legislation that protects ballot access for all Americans, and I believe that this setback will have a very real and very detrimental impact on voting rights for millions of voters in Georgia and across the country," continues Bishop.

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, 3rd District of Georgia, sees the situation differently.  He says we no longer suffer from the voting rights issues we saw in 1965 that led to the VRA.  

"Over the last 48 years, we have seen huge strides in minority voting and in minority representation on a local, state, and federal level," says Westmoreland. "In my home state of Georgia, we had 582 African American elected officials in 2000 – up from just 30 in 1970.  This shows that the VRA has worked and it is now time to update the law to reflect these changed conditions."

Westmoreland also says that the Supreme Court's decision will not weaken the positive impact the VRA had on our country nor will it diminish the importance of the Civil Rights Movement.  It simply acknowledges the progress that has been made since 1965.

Now that the decision is made, Bishop expresses his concern about how Congress will move forward with the revisions. He says, "Congress must now work in a bipartisan and responsible way to revise the coverage formula and ensure that voting rights will be protected into the future."

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