New York, NY, June 22, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in an important voting rights case, Northwest Austin v. Holder, which leaves the Voting Rights Act in place for 25 years.
Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:
We are gratified that the Supreme Court, "keenly mindful" of its institutional role, has declined an opportunity to second guess a 2006 decision by the U.S. Congress to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years.
Noting that the Congressional action was based upon a "sizeable record" of evidence of the continuing need for Section 5 of that Act – the "pre-clearance" provision in question in the case – the Court appropriately found a narrow basis for resolving the dispute before it, while leaving Section 5 in place. It is particularly noteworthy that eight Justices specifically acknowledged the historic importance of the Act and the positive changes it has accomplished.
We share the hope that someday the protections of the Voting Rights Act will no longer be necessary, but that day is not yet upon us. We are pleased that the Act remains in force and will continue to safeguard the fundamental voting rights of all Americans.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, of which ADL was a founding member, filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of all its member agencies.