Sen. Casey calls on Congress to restore Voting Rights protections

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down a formula used to determine whether state and local governments must get permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws, in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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The court's opinion argued that the formula was outdated, throwing it back to Congress to update the criteria.

“While we have made significant progress as a nation, it is simply not the case that the protections of Sections 4 and 5 are no longer needed,” Casey said. “We should not allow the successes of the VRA to be used to justify stripping the very provisions that allow for effective protection of the rights it guarantees. It is now the responsibility of Congress to pass legislation that will enable enforcement through Section 5 and continue to secure the right to vote to all of our citizens, regardless of race, national origin or language.”

Casey wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday, telling them Congress should take legislative action when its returns from its week-long recess.

“In 2006, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in a nearly unanimous fashion. It’s time for Congress to come together in that same bipartisan spirit and fix this egregious ruling,” Casey said. “Countless Americans fought and some died to secure the protections in the Voting Rights Act. We can’t just honor those courageous actions in words, we must also come together to make sure those protections are a staple of our laws.”

Moving a bill through the Republican House is expected to be more difficult.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Sunday that he would hold a hearing on the matter later this month, but added he wasn’t sure if he’d be passing any bills on the subject.