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    Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional


    The Voting Rights Act draws its authority from the 15th Amendment

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to stem voter suppression on the basis of race in the South. The law contains a provision -- Section 5 -- that identifies the worst historical offenders and requires that election changes in those jurisdictions pass federal review. Critics claim that this provision is contrary to the 15th Amendment, which bans the denial of the right to vote on the basis of race. In fact, Congress is playing the role that the 15th Amendment assigned to it. David Gans, director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center, explained:

    To anyone who takes the Constitution's text seriously, there are glaring holes in the conservative constitutional attack on the Voting Rights Act.  Shelby County's primary argument is that the Act's preclearance requirement is outdated and unnecessary, given changes in Alabama (where Shelby County is located) and elsewhere, but the Constitution, in fact, assigns to Congress the job of deciding how to enforce the Constitution's ban on racial discrimination in voting.  As Chief Justice Roberts recognized in a much-ignored passage of his 2009 opinion in NAMUDNO v. Holder, "the Fifteenth Amendment empowers Congress, not the Court, to determine . . . what legislation is needed to enforce it."