Justice: Times Change
Conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court are signaling some reservations about the federal Voting Rights Act. The high court is considering a challenge to part of the law and their ruling could have long-lasting effects here in Texas.
At issue is Section 5 which forces states with a history of discrimination to get all election laws cleared by the feds beforehand.
Justice Anthony Kennedy however, appeared to agree with the plaintiffs Wednesday, saying, "times change."
Texas State Rep. Sylvester Turner argues without it, he and 17 others blacks may not have made it to Austin.
“Many of us, if not all of us, would not be here at the state Capitol if it were not for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, that is a reality,” the Houston Democrat told reporters during a press conference this week.
The Texas attorney general says the section is no longer needed, adding the measure unfairly wields a tougher burden on Texas and the other covered jurisdictions than on other states. Its an argument State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer vehemently disagrees with.
“When I hear people like General Greg Abbott say Section 5 has outlived it's purpose, that we no longer need it, I think what he's telling you is that he's tired of losing under Section 5,” the San Antonio Democrat said.
Even Chief Justice John Roberts noted Massachusetts has a bigger problem with voter registration disparities than states in the south.
Carlos Duarte with Mi Familia Vota fears Hispanics will lose their voice in Texas and other border states unless justices stay the course and keep Section 5 in place.
“Not only has evidence shown that it would disproportionately affect Latinos, but the courts have ruled that it would affect the Latino community,” says Duarte.