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Pallone: Supreme Court Ruling is a Blow to Voting Rights and Access

June 25, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. issued the following statement upon the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the case of Shelby County vs. Holder, which strikes down a critical component of the Voting Rights Act: 

“The U. S. Supreme Court’s decision today in the case of Shelby County vs. Holder was a major setback to ensuring one of the most fundamental rights given to citizens in our democracy, the right to vote.  I am deeply disappointed in the Court’s ruling today and I believe it is out of step with the needs and realities of our nation’s electoral system. 

“I agree entirely with Justice Ginsburg’s dissent where she concluded that, ‘The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective...  Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like  throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.’

“The Voting Rights Act has helped millions of Americans who have faced roadblocks to  participating in the electoral process and it continues to act as an important check on laws that would unfairly restrict such participation.  In 2006, I voted with an overwhelming majority to ensure that advanced approval of changes to election processes should be required for jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory practices.  In light of today’s ruling, it is clear that Congress must, once again, work together to reinforce this important provision of the Voting Rights Act.

“Voting in the Unites States must always be open and accessible for all Americans.  I stand ready to work together with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion, as we did in 2006 and address this failed ruling by the Supreme Court and ensure the Voting Rights Act continues to protect the right to vote.”