Supreme Court conservatives express skepticism over voting law provision

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The Supreme Court’s conservative justices strongly suggested Wednesday that a key portion of the Voting Rights Act is no longer justified and the time had come for Southern states to be freed from special federal oversight.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. whether it was the federal government’s contention that “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North.”

Verrilli said that was not the government’s argument but that Congress decided in 2006 that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was still needed to protect the voting rights of minorities. The section requires nine states, mostly in the South, and local governments in other states to “pre-clear” any changes in voting laws with federal authorities....

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