Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, disappointed civil rights activists outside the court said it is now up to Congress to act.
Under a blazing June sun, representatives of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as well as civil rights lawyers J. Gerald Hebert and Armand Derfner, took to a bank of microphones at the foot of the court's steps to pledge their commitment to fighting the justices' 5-4 ruling to strike Section 4. That section lays out the formula used to determine which jurisdictions must seek permission before making certain changes in voting-related laws.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP legal defense fund, said they will push members of Congress to bolster the Voting Rights Act, which she said the court undermined in its decision.
Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said they will do "whatever is necessary" to ensure that all U.S. citizens can vote.
"We will not sit down. We will not be silent," Arnwine said. "We will not accept the evisceration of our rights."
But not everyone outside the court was unhappy with the ruling.
Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation and a visiting fellow with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told reporters that the court made the correct decision.
"This decision restores an important constitutional order to our system of government," Blum said. "And that requires that all 50 states and every jurisdiction have the laws apply equally to them."
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.