CAPAC Members Mark Fifth Anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder

Jun 25, 2018 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which gutted 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:

“Five years ago, the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Five year later, we continue to see the disastrous consequences of this decision through the discriminatory laws that have since been enacted to disenfranchise communities of color, youth, and the elderly from participating in our democracy. We have also heard complaints of polling locations failing to provide translated ballots even though they are legally required to do so under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act.  These unfair practices disproportionately hurt those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community – over a third of whom are limited English proficient.

“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am committed to ensuring that we pass legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act.  We must protect vulnerable communities from discriminatory voter suppression efforts and ensure that every U.S. citizen – regardless of their race, age, or language ability – has equal access to the ballot box.”

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), CAPAC Civil Rights Task Force Chair:

“The Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder was a huge setback for voting rights. The decision struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, dismantling fundamental voter protections that had been in place for nearly 50 years. In the wake of this decision, many states, including my state of Virginia, passed more restrictive voting laws, creating barriers that disproportionality affect lower-income and minority Americans. Members of Congress must work across the aisle to find a bipartisan solution to update the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act to ensure we protect the right to vote for every American.”

Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:

“The right to vote is one of the fundamental pillars of our nation’s democracy. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision delivered a devastating blow to voting rights by gutting key provisions of the law put in place to prohibit racial discrimination in our electoral process. We can’t let this injustice continue. Congress must take action by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore these critical protections and ensure that every American has a voice in our democracy.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08):

“For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act stood as a steadfast protector of American voters from all backgrounds. Five years ago, the Supreme Court weakened those protections, and in so doing, weakened our democracy. Since that day, we have seen numerous states take action to install discriminatory and burdensome requirements that disproportionately keep low-income voters and people of color away from the polls. This country is at its best when we all have a seat at the table and we all come together to decide on national solutions to our global problems. I join my colleagues in calling on Congress to take meaningful action to enshrine voting protections into federal law to protect the rights of every single American.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):

“Today is the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which curtailed the Department of Justice’s ability to protect voting rights in America.  This decision was a major setback for voting rights and it gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The fifth anniversary of this misguided decision is particularly sobering in light of other setbacks for voting rights.  These include the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the purging of voter rolls in Ohio and its dodging of the Gill v. Whitford case challenging gerrymandering in Wisconsin.  All of these cases illustrate why we must continue our fight to break down barriers that block access to the ballot box.  The right to vote is fundamental to our democratic process and must be guaranteed for everyone.”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52):

“Every American should be able to execute their constitutional right to vote free from discrimination, intimidation, and disenfranchisement. Unfortunately, the Shelby County v. Holder decision undid key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that helped the government identify voting jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination. We need to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act to fully restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act, ensuring equal voting transparency requirements for all 50 states.”

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“It's been five years since a Supreme Court majority struck a crippling blow against voting rights in their Shelby County v. Holder decision.  Our future as a democracy hinges on guaranteeing the right to vote for every eligible American citizen.  Because of this decision, states with histories of voter discrimination are able to trick and scheme their way to getting the election results they prefer.  We must ensure fair and equal voting rights in every state in our union!”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.