The Supreme Court may have two major decisions to make in the near future concerning civil rights. Two popular acts both supported by the Obama administration and several American civil rights groups are being challenged in Alabama.
On Wednesday, the justices will listen to oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, in which an Alabama county is challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which allows the federal government to block changes in voting and election laws in a group states, most of which are in the South, that historically made it harder for blacks to vote.
The court is expected to issue a ruling on this case in June or July, around the same time it is expected to announce its ruling on a case argued last year about the constitutionality of using racial preferences in college admissions.
The five conservative-leaning judges on the court have hinted before at their discomfort with the Voting Rights Act, arguing it unfairly targets states in the South, as well as with affirmative action, which they view as seeking to undo the effects of racial discrimination through a policy that also uses racial discrimination. But ruling in the same month against affirmation action and the Voting Rights Act, both strongly favored by American civil rights groups and many liberals, would combine to deliver a huge message from the Supreme Court on the future of race and policy in America.
The challenge to the VRA is hardly a surprise given the GOP's persistence in gerrymandering or creating tough voter ID laws which is happening all over the country. This is being slanted as racist because it comes from Alabama, but this is more of a scared tactic from a fading demographic to keep as many votes as possible.
These issues need to be brought to light, because tactics like these are changing the outcomes of major elections and help create the deadlock in Congress. This helps create more racist policies.
At the end of the day, we don't know what the courts will rule. Few expected Obamacare to pass the Supreme Court last year. Either way, the weight these cases should carry will bring this to the public for discussion, a discussion that needs to be had.