Democratic, community leaders blast U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act
NEWARK — Amid political broadsides and calls for congressional action in response to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act, it was a local community activist who brought the crowd to its feet: Voting Rights Act Reversal.
Hamm said downtown movie theaters used to have segregated seating and a White Castle on Elizabeth Avenue refused to hire blacks.
“This was in our lifetime,” Hamm said, sparking an ovation from the crowd. “So anybody who thinks they can take away what we fought for in this lifetime, they have been misled.”
Hamm was among some of the state’s leading Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Buono, Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.); and U.S. Senate candidates Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) to address the rally.
All decried the high court’s 5-4 decision last month that freed nine mostly southern states to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The ruling effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
At the same time, however, the speakers said the ruling was an opportunity to extend so-called pre-clearance requirements to all states that have engaged in practices many feel are designed to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.
“I think this decision has a lot to do with the election of a black president,” Payne said. “They’re trying to figure out a way that this can never happen again.”
Voting Rights Act Reversal
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