Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Rulings Explained




The Supreme Court made some historic changes to a couple of national cases this week and it’s important that you know what their rulings mean.



 
Voting Rights Act (VRA) Ruling
In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court Justices struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, ruling it as unconstitutional.

What does this VRA ruling mean?

According to the Washington Post Section 4 of the VRA creates a formula that determines what states should be subject to Section 5, which requires states to submit any changes to election or voting laws, or alterations of state legislative or congressional district lines, to the Justice Department for approval. (That process is commonly known as pre-clearance.) That formula was — until today — based on a) states that had used some sort of ballot test (literacy being the main one) to determine whether people can vote and b) whether less than 50 percent of eligible voters were registered to vote by November 1964. In essence, states and counties with a history of racial discrimination were required to seek pre-clearance. 

With no Section 4 — the Court asked Congress to determine a new formula — there is no section 5, according to a Democratic election lawyer who was granted anonymity to speak candidly.  ”Unless Congress creates a new coverage formula, Section 5 is not in force,” said the source. In essence, the Court said that the Justice Department still has the right to approve of line-drawing under the VRA but by invalidating the formula for determining what states/counties are subject to the VRA they made that power moot.

In short, New voter ID laws can take effect (w/o approval of the federal government) that will likely suppress minority voters.


 
Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) Ruling
In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court Justices struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act, ruling it as unconstitutional.

What does this DOMA ruling mean?
Federal marriage benefits are now extended to those in same-sex marriages.


 
Prop 8 Ruling
In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court Justices rule Prop 8 has no standing

What does this Prop 8 ruling mean?
Same-sex marriage is now legal in the state California


Twitter: @SoulRevision

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget