The U.S. Supreme Court is almost certain to strike down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark civil rights law passed to make sure minorities got out to the polls.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights act requires nine states, mostly in the South, to get permission from the federal government before they change their voting procedures.
The VRA was passed when Southern states used extreme measures like “poll taxes” and literacy tests to keep blacks away from the polls. Chief Justice John Roberts has suggested the law is stuck in the Jim Crow era.
Roberts asked a lawyer for the U.S. during arguments last week whether the feds thought citizens in the South were more racist than citizens in the North.
A couple of academics have come up with an answer for this question. In a word, yes.
UC Davis law professor Christopher Elmendorf and UC Berkeley doctoral student Douglas Spencer analysed data from the 2008 National Annenberg Election survey about nonblack Americans’ attitudes towards blacks.
In their preliminary results, they found a “strong correlation” between six of the Southern states covered by Section 5 and anti-black prejudice.
Here’s the chart they came up with, using two different methods to analyse the data:
Photo: Election Law Blog
Suffice it to say, Elmendorf and Spencer wrote, the Supreme Court should think twice before striking down the Voting Rights Act.
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