Signing of the Voting Rights Act

President Lyndon B. Johnson speaking before signing the Voting Rights Act [LBJ Library photo #A1029-11A by Yoichi Okamoto]

Austin leaders comment on Voting Rights Act court case

Feb 28, 2013

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the Shelby County vs. Holder case.

It challenges the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. It was meant to protect minorities from being discriminated against at the ballot box...something that was a major problem at the time especially in the southern states.

"Poll taxes, moving ballot boxes and voting places...a whole range of means that were attempted to keep blacks from voting, to make it hard for them to vote," said James Henson, Director of The Texas Politics Project at UT Austin.

Henson explains Section 5, the part that's being heavily debated.

"Any changes of any substantial nature to how elections were conducted had to be cleared by the Justice Department or the Federal Court," he said. read more and view the video