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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Supreme Court overturns major portion of the Voting Rights Act

Supreme Court is out of touch with reality

Jessica Pickens, 19, of Chicago, IL stands with fellow voting rights activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Washingto, DC, the day the court ruled on the Voting Rights Act striking down portions of the law. [Pete Marovich/MCT.]

Jessica Pickens, 19, of Chicago, IL stands with fellow voting rights activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Washingto, DC, the day the court ruled on the Voting Rights Act striking down portions of the law. [Pete Marovich/MCT.]

On Wednesday the Supreme Court overturned Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-4 majority. [“Future of voting-rights law in doubt,” page one, June 26.]

In so doing, the Supreme Court has irreparably disgraced itself. Chief Justice John Roberts claimed that the law was out of date, that the problems of 1965 had been solved and that Congress should write a new section to replace the one struck down.

However, Justice Roberts’ opinion rests on wishful thinking and optimism. I am not convinced that the problems of 1965 have all been solved, and besides, the Voting Rights Act was not addressing the problems of 1965. The act had been re-enacted many times since it was first passed, most recently in 2006. It passed with large majorities in both houses and was signed into law by President Bush.

When it was renewed in 2006, Congress was not just repeating what had been written in 1965. It took into account changes since that time, as the act has always done. Since the act was first passed in 1965, some jurisdictions have passed out of the act’s coverage, and others have been brought into it.

The act confronted trouble where it found it, and where there was no trouble, it sent the rehabilitated jurisdictions on their way, confident that the problem had been solved. Given that many of the problems of 1965 have persisted to the present and that a few more have appeared over the years, the Supreme Court is clearly out of touch with reality.

Michael Epton, Seattle

Voting Rights Act was out of date

Mary Emmick can’t be serious. [“Northwest Voices: Voting Rights Act still needed,” Opinion, June 27.]

The Supreme Court can edit, clarify or interpret laws to ensure constitutionality and maintain applicability in our country, but they are not lawmakers, nor are they elected to make laws.

Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has virtually outlived its need. Would Emmick want unlicensed drivers on our streets? If you don’t possess a license, you should not drive. You are not qualified.

None of our cherished constitutional rights are absolute, nor should they be.

Ronald Bowman, Burien

0 Comments | More in Politics | Topics: race, rights, SCOTUS

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