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 26, 2011 |
In a pointed keynote address Monday, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous urged members of the civil rights organization to stand up against restrictive state voting laws, which he compared to Jim Crow laws of decades past. "Let us be clear, the right to vote is the right upon which all of our rights are leveraged and without which … none can be protected," Jealous said at the annual convention of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, being held in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday.
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.
February 9, 2011 |
Since the 1960s, state and local officials in the South have been required by law to seek advance approval from the Justice Department in Washington before making changes in their election rules, a legacy of the era when blacks were denied the right to vote. But in an unusual twist, new Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, is using the pre-clearance requirement in the Voting Rights Act to stall enforcement of a voter-approved initiative that bars partisan gerrymandering. Longtime champions of voting rights are crying foul.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 4, 2010 |
Three Compton residents are suing the city under the California Voting Rights Act, contending that the city's elections are stacked against Latino candidates. The complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges that the at-large elections for City Council seats have the effect of diluting the Latino vote. Three Compton voters ? Felicitas Gonzalez, Karmen Grimaldi and Flora Ruiz ? filed the suit against the city and City Clerk Alita Godwin. City Atty. Craig Cornwell declined to comment.
March 28, 2010 |
President Obama gets it. So did President Eisenhower half a century ago. When you are breaking a decades-long legislative logjam, you take what you can get so you can do better later. Critics deplore the compromises Obama made on healthcare. And it's true that the bill he signed Tuesday doesn't accomplish everything reform advocates had hoped for. But give Obama credit for historical perspective. Covering the millions without health insurance is the civil rights issue of our time.
September 17, 2009
Last Nov. 4, voters outside a Philadelphia polling place were greeted by two men wearing the paramilitary-style uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. One carried a nightstick, an act of intimidation captured on video and immortalized on YouTube. According to a witness, a self-described liberal, one of the Panthers shouted (presumably to a white voter): "Now you will see what it is like to be ruled by the black man, cracker." Citing both the menacing "deployment" of the Panthers and their abusive language, outgoing U.S. Atty.
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.
June 23, 2009
A lustrous legacy of the civil rights movement has survived a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court. By an 8-1 vote, the court has preserved a requirement that states and localities with a history of abridging the right to vote must get approval from the U.S. Justice Department before making changes to their election procedures, a practice known as "pre-clearance." In refusing to strike down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
June 23, 2009 |
The historic Voting Rights Act -- the 1965 law that ended a century of racial discrimination at the ballot box and gave blacks a political voice across the South -- survived a strong challenge at the Supreme Court on Monday as justices pulled back from a widely anticipated decision to strike down a key part of the law as outdated and unfair to today's South. Instead, the justices agreed to narrow the law's impact by allowing municipalities with a clean record to seek an exemption.