Voting Rights Act

  Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed.

Ari Berman is a political correspondent for The Nation and an investigative journalism Fellow at the Nation Institute. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NPR.

In his book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, he charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day.

In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, decided a week ago on March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed and sent back the lower court decision. The federal district court had thrown out a challenge to Alabama’s 2012 redistricting. That court held that the redistricting was not a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court said the lower court used the wrong standard.

Springfield Republican file photo

Many Black History Month events are focusing on the marches in Selma, Alabama fifty years ago that helped bring an end to segregation in the South and led to the Voting Rights Act. Massachusetts State Representative Benjamin Swan of Springfield spent about three weeks in Alabama in March 1965.  Swan, who was 21-years-old at the time, talked about the experience with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

  Today, August 6th is the anniversary of the 1965 signing of the Voting Rights Act. Historian Gary May’s newest book is Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy. In it, he traces the history of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from its creation during the heyday of the civil rights era to the challenges its historic provisions face. Recent developments have plunged the VRA—and the newest efforts to decimate it—back into the headlines.

Today I want to talk about the Supreme Court’s recent decision eviscerating the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy says he will call hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee to see if legislation can be written to protect minority voting rights that many feel were threatened after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Voting Rights Act.

6/26/13 - Panel

Jun 26, 2013

Today's panelists are WAMC newsman, Ray Graf and Stephen Gottlieb, the Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School.

Topics:
SCOTUS - Voting Rights Act Decision
DOMA/Prop 8

Mass. Dems Fault Court Ruling On Voting Rights Law

Jun 26, 2013
wikipedia commons

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and other top Democrats are criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling on the landmark Voting Rights Act.

The justices ruled 5-4 Tuesday that a key provision of the law cannot be enforced unless Congress creates an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities still need federal monitoring.

Patrick called the decision "disappointing." He said many areas of the country are moving to limit access to the ballot and that politics is still "racially polarized" in states covered by the provision in the law.