U.S. Supreme Court to hear Voting Rights Act case Feb. 27

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Shelby County v. Holder, in which the county questions the constitutionality of portions of the Voting Rights Act, during a Feb. 27 hearing.

Shelby County Attorney Butch Ellis plans to travel to Washington D.C. to hear the arguments.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, has charted a bus to take residents to Washington D.C. The bus will leave from Calera Monday, Feb. 25.

“It’s a huge event. Our motto is ‘50 years and still fighting.’ You’d think we wouldn’t have to, but there are a lot of things I see that I call the ‘unseen aspects,’” Montevallo resident Rev. Kenneth Dukes said. “I’ve been working in politics now for several years, and there are a lot of little unseen things that happen that hinder everyone from having a voice.”

In addition to Alabama, 15 states are required to submit any change in voting practices to the U.S. Department of Justice for pre-clearance, but Shelby County is “on stage” during the Feb. 27 hearing, Dukes said.

“(Congress is) applying same criteria as the 1964 presidential election,” Ellis said previously. “If they would use any election in last decades, we and the other cities and counties would not be required to (undergo pre-clearance). They’re using data that is over 45 years old.”

In May 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to uphold Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee voting protocol in 16 states, including Alabama.

A phone message left with Butch Ellis was not returned as of Feb. 18.