Durbin Statement on the Supreme Court's Decision on the Voting Rights Act

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today, after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“For almost 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has protected minority populations from discrimination at the ballot box, whether in the form of poll taxes, literacy tests or voter identification laws and discriminatory redistricting. We need look no further than the last election cycle to understand the ongoing importance of the Voting Rights Act,” Durbin said.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a major setback for the voting rights that courageous Americans have fought for generations to protect. Now, Congress has a responsibility to respond promptly by taking legislative action addressing voting discrimination and inequality. As chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, I will be holding hearings to address this troubling decision by the Supreme Court.”

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Durbin held a series of hearings on new state voting laws that were creating barriers to the ballot for minority, young, low income and other voters.  In September 2011, his Subcommittee held the first Congressional hearing to examine whether numerous new state voting laws threaten the right to vote.

In January 2012 and May 2012, Durbin chaired field hearings in Tampa, Florida and Cleveland, Ohio on those states’ restrictive new voting laws. More information on those hearings can be found here