From: Anthony Collings/CNN
Subject: Supreme Court Narrows Federal Role In Racial Redistricting
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday curbed the power of the federal government in some cases to decide whether changes in state and local voting laws result in racial discrimination. The court said the Justice Department doesn't automatically have the right to veto proposed changes in voting districts in southern states just because the changes would dilute minority voting power.
In a case from Louisiana, the issue was whether the Justice Department can cite dilution of minority voting power as proof that a proposed change in a voting district for a school board would discriminate and therefore be illegal. The proposed change would result in a voting plan that had no majority-black district.
The court ruled, 7-2, that the Justice Department cannot cite dilution of minority voting strength as a reason to veto the proposed change, but it said Justice could still veto the proposed change on other grounds involving alleged discrimination.
Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a federal civil rights law, the Justice Department must approve changes in voting laws in southern states, which have a past history of racial discrimination. Monday's court ruling did not take away the general power of the Justice Department to intervene, but narrowed the scope of when that power may be exercised.
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