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Supreme Court Voting Rights Decision: The Civil War Is Over, And A New War Begins

Huffington Post

The Supreme Court just declared that the Civil War is no longer relevant to the history and administration of racial justice in America.

In a sense, the court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder validated a generations-long effort -- first by Democrats and later by Ronald Reagan and the Bush family -- to throw off the moral weight that slavery and the Civil War had placed on the South. [...]

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and amendments that followed through 2006, held that the states of the Old South, and a few other jurisdictions that had practiced official or “de jure” segregation, should be specifically and deeply scrutinized every time they tried to change their voting laws. The requirement for “preclearance” was based on voting and turnout patterns that, in turn, had their roots in segregation, Jim Crow and the practices that the South devised to disenfranchise blacks after the Civil War.

The court said Tuesday that that history and those formulas are no longer relevant -- or at least not relevant enough to make sense in the multiracial America of today.

“They are saying that the idea of preclearance is still valid,” George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton told The Huffington Post. “But they are saying that the way we go about it no longer applies.”