AirTalk for February 26, 2013

Supreme Court hears controversial voting rights case

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case about the collection of DNA evidence, and whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from obtaining DNA samples before conviction without a warrant.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will reevaluate the Voting Rights Act -- is federal intervention still necessary to prevent discrimination at the polls?

It would be tough to overstate the level of interest in tomorrow's high court hearing on voting rights. The case is challenging a historic piece of legislation. In 1965, the creation of the Voting Rights Act was heralded as a landmark victory for civil rights. It outlawed discriminatory polling practices that were commonplace, particularly in the Deep South.

Now, some regions - including the petitioners of this case, Shelby County, Alabama - say the Act is for a time that has passed. They argue the federal government should no longer have oversight into the local issue of polling places or redistricting. There is a long list of stakeholders watching the case intently. It touches on politics, the law, race and history.

Is the federal government still needed to police discrimination? Are there still racist practices affecting elections? Why are political parties paying close attention to this case?

Guests:
Nancy Abudu , Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project based in Atlanta, Georgia

Joshua Thompson , Staff Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation - described as a public interest legal organization that fights for limited government, property rights, individual rights and a balanced approach to environmental protection; Thompson filed the PLF’s friend-of-the-court brief on Shelby County v. Holder


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