Back in June the Supreme Court passed a ruling in the case of Shelby County v. Holder ruling part of the Voting Rights Act 1965 unconstitutional. The key aspect ruled unconstitutional was that, under the Voting Rights Act, certain states (many of them in the south who were seen as untrustworthy when it came to allowing voting rights) had to gain ‘preclearance’ with the Department of Justice before changing their voting laws. Therefore, these states are now free to make their own voting law – a great example that could be used for both sides of the ‘federalism’ debate, as well as a suggestion of a more conservative court.
The impact of this has become clear this week with Texas passing a new law requiring photo ID in order to vote. This is likely to reduce the number of African-Americans and Hispanics who can vote as they are much less likely to have these documents. As Texas’ Hispanic population grows, this is arguably an attempt by a Republican legislature to keep control of the state. This is therefore an important example for civil rights, for parties, for elections and for the Supreme Court topics.