Shelby County voting rights case - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Shelby County voting rights case

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Shelby County went before the Supreme court Wednesdasy seeking release from Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. Shelby County went before the Supreme court Wednesdasy seeking release from Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

Shelby County is in the nation's spotlight. The county went before the Supreme court seeking release from Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.  That section requires federal approval for voting changes. Conservatives on the court picked the law apart. Justice Antonin Scalia drew audible gasps when he suggested the law's repeated renewal could perpetuate racial entitlement.

Some people rallying outside the court strongly disagreed with the idea and many people here in Alabama have similar views.

"Laws are in place for a reason, for protection, for your right."

Civil Rights foot soldier Gloria Washington Lewis-Randall supports "Section Five" of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. "You needed those laws to keep the people in voting and the same laws were put in for a reason. If you take those laws out, then you can regress back to the days of old."

Supreme Court Justices are determining whether Section 5 is unconstitutional. It allows the Justice department to shut down voting changes that could discriminate. Shelby County says the law is no longer needed.

"We don't want it to change. I think we can all agree, we've made significant progress in terms of issues of discrimination and disenfranchisement, but at the end of the day we have to be honest there are vestiges of it." Hezekiak Jackson says Shelby County is one of many places that would like to make changes with district lines, polling places without getting clearance from the Federal Government, but many African Americans in Calera don't want to see that happen.

Jackson also says "For many reasons, those people feel they've been disenfranchised because of the development of the whole Shelby County explosion. That's why they're saying at the end of the day, they want their voices heard."

We did reach out to several Shelby County leaders. The District Attorney and many County Commissioners did not want to comment on the case.  We also called the County Manager who is in Washington.

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