December 23, 2011 |
The Obama administration's civil rights office is stepping up its fight with the Southern states over voting rights, announcing it will block a new South Carolina law that would require voters to show a government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot. The Justice Department invoked the Voting Rights Act on Friday and said the new photo-identification rule could deny the right to vote for tens of thousands of blacks and other minorities. "According to the state's statistics, there are 81,938 minority citizens who are already registered to vote and who lack DMV-issued identification," Thomas E. Perez, the chief of the department's civil rights division, said in a letter to South Carolina officials.
July 12, 2006 |
In an intensely competitive election year, this was supposed to be the issue virtually everyone in Congress could agree on: renewing civil rights-era laws protecting minorities' access to the ballot box.
June 22, 2006 |
The Voting Rights Act, which has protected minority voters from discrimination since its passage more than 40 years ago, appeared headed for an easy reaffirmation in the House on Wednesday -- until conflicts old and new clouded its future. Amid wide bipartisan support -- the House Judiciary Committee approved the measure last month by a 33-1 vote -- Republican leaders scheduled a floor debate, hoping to use the bill's passage for an election-year outreach to minority voters.
August 13, 2011 |
For the first time since the landmark Voting Rights Act became law in 1965, a Democratic administration in Washington will oversee the high-stakes, once-a-decade political redistricting based on the census. That redistricting is already underway. Under the act, the Justice Department must approve changes to election laws in the South and other areas where racial discrimination once interfered with elections. At issue will be whether the newly drawn congressional and state legislative districts — based on the 2010 census — deny blacks or Latinos their right "to elect representatives of their choice.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 25, 2011 |
Many of L.A.'s black leaders gathered in Exposition Park one recent drizzly morning to sound a warning. Hard-won political gains were under attack, they said, in the once-in-a-decade redrawing of California's voting districts. There were references to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and exhortations to "let your voice be heard. " The leaders urged their audience to lodge protests with the citizen group formed at voters' behest to create the new political maps. As the California Citizens Redistricting Commission hurtles toward the deadline for finishing its task, which was formerly done by the Legislature, it has heard plenty from individuals and civic and business groups objecting to the way things are going.
May 25, 2009 |
Judging from their questions during recent oral arguments, the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court may be ready to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a key provision that helped stop the widespread disenfranchisement of African American and other minority voters when it was enacted in 1965.
June 29, 2009 |
When John G. Roberts Jr. took over as chief justice at the Supreme Court four years ago, he sounded the same theme that President Obama did more recently. The court was too divided and too polarized, he said, and he proposed a type of judicial bipartisanship. He said he would seek a broader agreement among the justices, even if it sometimes meant deciding cases more narrowly.
September 11, 2011
I like to walk bridges. I've crossed the obvious: The Brooklyn Bridge, with its panorama of Manhattan, makes your heart soar. And I've strolled the obscure, including the Duke Ellington Bridge over Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek. (In a world that generally names infrastructure after politicians, it's hard not to admire a span honoring a jazz musician.) Each bridge inspires. I'm awed by the engineering and the audacity to tame nature, or at least a tiny sliver of it. And I love the setting, suspended between water and sky. Yet none of this prepared me for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. It's hardly the prettiest span: a 1940s-era bridge arching over the muddy Alabama River.