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Pelosi: 'The right to vote must be preserved, protected'

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"Voting rights is not about any party. It is not a matter for partisan debate. It is not an issue for just Democrats or Republicans. Voting rights is about who we are as Americans," Pelosi said. "Today, we have come together on the steps of the Supreme Court with a clear message: the right to vote must be preserved; the right to vote must be protected; the right to vote must remain the cornerstone of our democracy. And that right to vote must be for all Americans."

Inside the courtroom, however, there was evidence justices are ready to ignore Pelosi's pleas.

During questioning Wednesday, the five conservative justices hinted strongly at striking down Section 5 of the law, which bars nine states — most in the South — from changing their voting procedures without prior federal approval.

"Is it the government's submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than the citizens in the North?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked. Justice Antonin Scalia, another conservative, piled on, arguing that Congress is an unreliable judge of whether Section 5 remains a necessary protection almost 50 years after the law was enacted. He said lawmakers' continued support for the provision was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

For more on Pelosi's comments, click here.