A Paper on Shelby County V. Holder

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The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits voting discrimination. With the condition to receive preclearance stated in section 5 of the Act from the Department of Justice before making any changes affecting the voting process, also came four other prohibitions. The prohibition of literacy test or other similar test or devices as a prerequisite to voter registration is one prevention. The requirement of jurisdictions with significant language minority populations to provide non-English ballots and oral voting instructions is another. Third is the prohibition of vote dilution, which is the remapping of districts to suppress the minority vote. The final provision was one of the most controversial of the Act. It established the federal oversight over the administrations of elections in areas where racism and discrimination thrived. This provision of the VRA was one of the most controversial because some citizens believed it was a major intrusion of States rights. The covered jurisdictions included nine states, most of them in the south. They are; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Since its enactment it has been renewed four times. The most recent time in 2006, was signed into law by President George W. Bush, and renewed the Act for twenty-five more years. Soon to be heard before the United States Supreme Court, is the court case Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Attorney General, et al. Shelby County argues that with an African American president elected twice, the VRA of 1965 has outlived its necessity. However, the tactics used to discriminate racially against the African American vote and the civil rights of United States citizens warranted this intrusion which is the purpose of the federal government. The entanglement of racism and discrimination was so deep in the south; the federal government had to establish the oversight of elections in those states with a history of discrimination. After an analysis, it should be found that then and now it is necessary to have this federal jurisdiction. Voting is one of the most important components of democracy. The ability to cast a vote in the United States is a right afforded to all of its free citizens. The Fifthteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution makes this evident. It was passed by Congress on February 26, 1869. The first part of this two sectioned Amendment reads, “The rights of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous conditions of servitude. Section two finishes with, “The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation”. Following its ratification, violations of this right still occurred on accounts of race, color, and a previous condition of servitude. An example of this violation is the African American struggle to gain it. Primary sources from the United States Constitution, the United States Code of Laws, as well as secondary sources and recent newspaper articles can be used to form an opinion of the African American struggle to gain and protect their voting rights. The American Civil War ended in 1865. However, following the end of reconstruction and the withdrawal of national attention towards other national matters, southern racism reduced the newly freed peoples to second class citizens. Chapter one of Abraham and the Second American Revolution written by, James M. McPherson, discusses the categorization of the American Civil War as a revolution. To do this he analyzes the social and economic factors that justify the appropriate use of the title. He defined revolution as the overthrow of the existing social and political order by internal violence. Social and economic factors and conditions that contributed to his definition and categorization of the American Civil War as the nation’s second revolution include; education, distribution of property and...
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