Washington, D.C. – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) joined America’s Journey for Justice marchers at their final destination on Capitol Hill to remind Congress that, “our lives, our votes, our jobs, and our schools matter.” At the end of a 1000-mile journey for voting rights, economic equality, education reform, criminal justice, and youth advocacy, we are now asking Congress to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The NAACP launched the Journey for Justice on August 1 at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where the Lawyers’ Committee and allies converged earlier this year to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March from Selma-to-Montgomery for equal voting rights for all Americans.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court weakened this landmark statute by striking down one of its key provisions. Since that day in June 2013, the Lawyers’ Committee and its partners have continued to monitor the states that had been subject to federal review because of their history of discrimination. However, the full protections of the VRA are irreplaceable. The recent Voter ID litigation in Texas shows what we have lost. After the 2013 Supreme Court decision, the State of Texas immediately announced implementation of a voter ID law that a federal district court and an appellate court have since ruled discriminatory. Yet it is still in effect as litigation continues. Additionally, in the past two years, several states that are no longer subject to the VRA’s oversight have passed laws that restrict the right to vote.
“America’s Journey for Justice Advocacy Day is an important opportunity to amplify our demand that Congress restore the VRA. At stake is the first presidential election in which voters will lack the Act’s full protections,” remarked Marcia Johnson-Blanco, co-director of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Voting Rights Project. “This cannot stand.” The Lawyers’ Committee remains steadfast with its partners in defending the hard-won victories secured by Americans who believed that the right to vote was worth their lives and to call on Congress to ensure that all Americans have a voice.