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US Supreme Court wipes out civil rights voting law

HOUSE OF LAW: The US Supreme Court in Washington DC

AN AMERICAN law prohibiting states from preventing black citizens from voting in local and national elections has been deemed unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues have decided to remove Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, feeling that the United States had moved past its history of racial segregation.

The regulations – supported by civil rights leaders - determined that states and counties must follow strict guidelines governing any changes to voting laws, to prevent discrimination towards minority groups.

Roberts said the decision was backed by evidence of higher voter registration numbers from black voters and the fact that states, which all suffered under the Jim Crow era, including Philadelphia, Mississippi, and Selma, Alabama, all have black mayors.

Moreover, the New Yorker argued that the formula for which parts of America are given special scrutiny regarding race is outdated, as the “North vs. South” paradigm no longer exists.

The formula that governs which parts of the country are covered "that Congress reauthorised in 2006 ignores these developments, keeping the focus on decades-old data relevant to decades-old problems, rather than current data reflecting current needs," Roberts said.

However, various accounts of black and Hispanic voters being denied registration into polling booths over the last three elections have left critics worried that the changes could open up more racial problems.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remarked that Roberts was by his own admission helping to wipe out one of the most powerful antidotes to discrimination.

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