Rabbi Saperstein: “We strongly urge the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling and ensure that section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act remains a stronghold of protection at the polls for members of minority communities.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2009 – In response to the submission of an amicus brief to the Supreme Court by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in a key voting rights case (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Eric Holder, Jr. Attorney General, et al), Rabbi David Saperstein issued the following statement:
We stand today with the civil rights community to welcome the amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in the key voting rights case of NAMUDNO v. Holder. The brief effectively and rightfully argues that Congress was justified in extending Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states and districts with a history of racial discrimination at the polls to receive permission from the federal government before making any changes to their election and/or voting procedures and practices.
As a member of the Leadership Conference, we, too, strongly urge the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling and ensure that Section 5 remains a stronghold of protection at the polls for members of minority communities. As the brief makes clear, our nation has made great strides in overcoming decades of entrenched discrimination at the polls. At the same time, minority voters continue to face barriers to exercising their right to vote that require the continued application of section 5 of the VRA. We hope that the Supreme Court will acknowledge this reality and make certain that federal jurisprudence upholds this fundamental American right and responsibility of citizenship.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.