Voting Rights Argued Before U.S. Supreme Court

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Photo provided by Office of Congressman Hank Johnson

Photo provided by Office of Congressman Hank Johnson

WASHINGTON (AP/WAOK) — The Supreme Court is wrestling with the fate of a section of a landmark civil rights law that has helped millions of Americans exercise their right to vote.

In an argument at the court on Wednesday, liberal and conservative justices engaged in a sometimes tense back and forth over whether there is an ongoing need in 2013 for a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The measure requires states with a history of discrimination, mainly in the Deep South, to get approval before making changes in the way elections are held.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer whether the Obama administration thinks Southerners “are more racist than citizens in the North.”

The answer from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was no.

Several lawmakers and civil rights activists attended a rally outside of the Supreme Court prior to the hearing. Those in attendance included Georgia Democratic Representatives John Lewis and  Hank Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Rainbow PUSH Founder Reverend Jesse Jackson, and National Action Network Founder Reverend Al Sharpton.

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