HOUSTON (CBS Houston) On Tuesday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling about the Voting Rights Act:
“Although I respect the court’s decision that the Voting Rights Act still applies, I share the concerns of many who believe the uncertainty now surrounding its application could have a negative impact on the progress we’ve made since the end of Jim Crow. Clearly, there is much more to do to ensure that the promise of America is available to all.
It is encouraging that the Court did not invalidate the power of our government to safeguard the right of every American to vote. But it will be a very heavy lift to unite majorities in our current Congress to pass a fair bill that provides adequate protections. I ask all Houstonians, and all Americans, to join me in urging Congress to act with all due speed. In the meantime, the City remains committed to full compliance with the basic tenets of the Voting Rights Act.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court halted enforcement of the federal government’s endeavor to stop voting discrimination over the past half century, further stating that it does not reflect racial progress.
With a 5-4 ruling, the nation’s highest court declared unconstitutional a provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act determining which states and localities must get Washington’s approval for proposed election changes.
President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black chief executive, also shared the sentiments of Mayor Parker calling Tuesday’s ruling and decision disappointing: “While today’s [Tuesday’s] decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination,” the president said. “I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.”
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 which is seen as landmark piece of national legislation in the United States, outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had spearheaded widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
With verbiage taken from the 15th Amendment the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”