Mixed reactions to U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Voting Rights - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Mixed reactions to U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Voting Rights Act

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There were mixed reactions Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act. (abc3340.com) There were mixed reactions Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act. (abc3340.com)

The Supreme Court's decision striking down the use of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has garnered mixed reactions from leaders in Alabama and across the nation.

Governor Robert Bentley praised the Supreme Court's ruling voiding Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

"Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress.  We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama." Bentley said in a news release.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman shared the governor's sentiments regarding the court's decision while pointing to a provision in the act that will allow issues of discrimination to be prosecuted.

"If there is a time or circumstance where a voter feels there has been any discrimination regarding the elections process, then Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act will provide a way for that case to be heard as it should," Chapman said.

While President Barack Obama called the ruling a "setback" in the country's progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote, he said it will not deter further efforts to end voter discrimination.

"I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision today." Obama said in a released statement. "For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans.  Today's decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent."

"As a nation, we've made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote.  But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists.    And while today's decision is a setback, it doesn't represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination.  I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.  My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process."

U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell was in agreement with President Obama.

"By striking down the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court has ostensibly nullified the effects of the preclearance provisions of Section 5 in total disregard of the facts Congress relied upon when it overwhelmingly reauthorized the Act in 2006." Sewell said in a statement.

State Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis was also disconcerted with the decision.

"Today, I am saddened and disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional." Davis said. "Even though the Court's majority opinion acknowledges that voting discrimination still exists, the Justices nevertheless determined that the formula used to enforce the Voting Rights Act was ‘outdated'."

Link:  Read the complete ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court

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