Is the Voting Rights Act Outdated?

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson says that voter-registration data provided by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts supports the argument for striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

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Voting Rights Act supporters listen to the Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, says that voter-registration data provided by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts supports the argument for striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that the VRA had played a key role in breaking down barriers preventing minorities from voting. But the court struck down Section 4 of the law, which includes a formula that determines which states and cities with a history of voting discrimination deserve additional scrutiny when changing their voting laws.

Buried deep in Roberts' opinion, on page 15, is this remarkable chart comparing voter registration numbers from 1965 to 2004. The influence of the VRA in increasing black registration percentages appears extraordinary and undeniable.

Read Derek Thompson's entire piece at The Atlantic.

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