Almost 50 years after it was first enacted, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 could be facing its biggest challenge. Four of the five conservative Supreme Court justices raised questions over the monumental law’s continued usefulness and fairness. The act requires nine states—most from the South—to seek federal permission to change voting procedures in order to prevent the racial exclusion. On Wednesday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the act a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” while Chief Justice John Roberts was skeptical that people in the South are really more racist than their Northern counterparts. At question is the formula, which is based on decades-old data, that determines the jurisdictions governed by the act.
The Supremes MANDEL NGAN / AFP