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Nation’s Top Civil Rights Lawyers Say Discriminatory Jim Crow Voting Laws Abound


A year after a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority gutted the crown jewel of the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), the nation’s foremost voting rights attorneys say that racial discrimination in voting is rampant, especially in southern states where the the VRA helped to ensure access to the ballot.

“We are in a very, very dangerous time for our democracy,” said Barbara Arnwine, the president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which convened 25 hearings across the country since last fall and heard testimony from more than 400 people about how the Supreme Court was wrong to assert that the U.S. had evolved past its decades of discriminatory voting practices.

“If you control who votes and where they vote, you control the power,” said Leon Russell, Vice-Chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, speaking Wednesday at a press conference, where the Lawyers Committee, NAACP, Demos, League of Young Voters and others issued a comprehensive report on ongoing voting barriers before and after the 2013 Court ruling gutting the VRA, Shelby County v. Holder.