Supreme Court to Hear Voting Rights Act Case

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson holds the signed document of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as he chats with Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., in the President's Room in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 1965.  Signatures that appear on the document are Lyndon Johnson, left bottom; House Speaker John McCormack, upper, standing at right; and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, lower, standing second from left.  Standing at far left is Sen. Mike Mansfield.  (AP Photo)National Journal

The Supreme Court will hear a case this term involving the landmark Voting Rights Act, the Associated Press reports.

The high court will look into whether certain states with a history of discrimination should still be subject to Department of Justice review. Opponents of the measure claim racial discrimination in those states is no longer at the levels seen in previous decades.

Those states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — must seek federal approval if they change any voting measures. The law also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire.

Shelby County, Ala., which is near Birmingham, is challenging the law. Six states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas — are backing the county in its appeal.

The Supreme Court is also looking into affirmative action for higher education this term, signally that some justices want to review the need for certain laws that aim to protect racial minorities, the Associated Press reported.

George W. Bush was the last president to renew the Voting Rights Act, which he signed in 2006.