Voting Rights Act Victory at the U.S. Supreme Court

Voting Rights

In a major decision, the U.S. Supreme Court re-affirmed a critical tool for protecting minority voting rights: Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act (“VRA”).  In doing so, the Court reinforced the message community groups represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights (“LCR”) have emphasized all along Boston’s redistricting litigation:  ensuring equal voting opportunity under the VRA means paying attention to race.  

Section 2 of the VRA prohibits state and local governments from enacting voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in certain language minority groups.  As a result, lawmakers must always be aware of race as they redraw district lines to avoid diluting minority voting power in violation of the VRA.  This is especially true in a city like Boston where there is significant evidence that racially polarized voting can prevent minority groups from electing their candidates of choice.

LCR is heartened that today’s opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, rejected an indefensible interpretation of the VRA that would have required lawmakers and courts to be rigidly race neutral in drawing and analyzing district maps.  Preventing and combating racial disenfranchisement are both necessarily race-conscious endeavors.

On behalf of our client communities, LCR remains focused on continuing to center these critical VRA considerations in federal court—now bolstered by today’s Supreme Court opinion.  

LCR represents the NAACP Boston Branch, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, La Colaborativa, and New England United for Justice in the ongoing federal redistricting case in Boston.