Originally published 03/29/2013
Simon E. Balto
Mug shot of Olen Burrage in 1964.The expected gutting of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder has captured many headlines of late, and with good reason. Less than fifty years removed from the VRA’s passage and in the face of mounting state-by-state efforts to restrict the franchise, the Roberts Court appears poised to undo one of the civil rights movement’s hallmark achievements. As an array of voting rights advocates and legal experts have demonstrated, such a decision would make it substantially more costly and difficult for citizens and organizations to challenge voting restrictions that are discriminatory in intent or effect.