CAPAC Members Mark Eighth Anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder

Jun 25, 2021 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. - Today marks the eighth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Eight years ago, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision weakened the Voting Rights Act by gutting the enforcement mechanism, opening the gates to a flood of new voter suppression bills in statehouses across America. This rush to pass new restrictions on access to the voting booth demonstrated just how important the VRA was at holding back the forces of disenfranchisement. In the first five months of 2021 alone, nearly 400 voter restriction bills were introduced across 48 states. We cannot tolerate this shameless effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans. Congress needs to continue fighting for the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the Voting Rights Act’s protections and ensure dark money, gerrymandering, and racial discrimination are less able to influence our elections.

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Voting rights are under attack and as our nation marks the eighth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision, we must recommit ourselves to combatting the disgraceful and ongoing efforts to deny Americans access to the ballot box. The Shelby ruling was a tremendous blow for protections for voters and it gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the increase of voting restrictions in certain states and the Senate blocking key voting reform legislation makes out fight more important than ever. Despite the setbacks, we must not back down form ensuring the right to vote for all Americans which is a cornerstone of our democracy. It is crucial that we protect access to the ballot for each and every voter in our country. Congress must pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to help make this happen, and I will continue to keep up the fight until these bills are enacted into law.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“Eight years ago, the Shelby County v. Holder decision struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, leaving room for states to restrict access to the polls across the country. Since then, we’ve seen numerous attempts by states to prevent American citizens from voting, such as implementing strict voter ID laws; closing polling stations; purging voter rolls; and more, all of which disproportionately impact minorities and communities of color. We must stand up and speak out against all efforts to suppress the voices of American voters. That’s why I support legislation to defend the right to vote and restore integrity in our elections. Democrats will continue fighting to strengthen our democracy to ensure the power is in the hands of the people.”

Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03):

“The right to vote isn’t just fundamental to our democracy, it’s core to what it means to be an American. The Shelby County v Holder decision was a massive step backwards in protecting those rights, setting our democracy and country back decades. We owe it to every American to restore that core value and fully restore and enhance the Voting Rights Act. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the American thing to do, and it is essential to move our country forward.”

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“Voting is a constitutional right, but over the last year alone we’ve seen a blatant rise in attempts to silence and suppress voters in many states across our nation. Eight years ago, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder legalized forms of voter intimidation, discrimination, and suppression. The policies that followed have enabled states to systematically disenfranchise communities of color, seniors, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and working class voters. The American people are calling on us to make it easier to vote, not harder. My CAPAC colleagues and I will continue our work to restore the Voting Rights Act by passing the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12):

“Today, eight years since the Shelby County v. Holder decision, voter disenfranchisement, suppression, and discrimination continue to threaten the very cornerstone of our democracy: the right to vote. Every eligible voter must be able to access the polls and exercise this fundamental right. More than ever before, we are seeing legislatures across the country working to codify voter suppression into law. We need to abolish the filibuster so that we can pass the For the People Act and guarantee equal access to the ballot box.”

Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35):

“The Shelby v. Holder decision stripped a key enforcement mechanism from the Voting Rights Act, and the harmful impact continues to this day. In the eight years since the decision, several states with histories of discrimination in voting have wasted little time engaging in problematic behavior. Fourteen states have already enacted 22 new laws restricting access to the ballot box this year, and at least another 61 bills with restrictive provisions continue advancing through 18 state legislatures. Shelby v. Holder undermined a cornerstone of American democracy – it paved the way for a brand of politics that is less concerned with garnering votes than it is with preventing opponents from receiving them. I’m a proud supporter of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to reinstate the full protections of the VRA, and put the power back where it belongs in our democracy: with the people.”