WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to today’s unanimous decision holding that North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law intentionally discriminated against voters of color:
“Today’s decision is an important victory for the countless North Carolina voters of color who were discriminated against by their own state government. We commend the voters, civil rights litigators, and community organizations that made the massive investments and sacrifices required to fight and overturn this monster voter suppression law.
This arduous and expensive legal battle should never have been necessary. If the Supreme Court had not gutted the Voting Rights Act, this law would have been stopped by before it ever took effect. Instead, countless voters were denied the right to cast ballots in the 2014 mid-term election and in this year’s presidential primary – and there’s no way to get those votes back. Thanks to all of those who fought tirelessly to leverage what remains of the Voting Rights Act, these voters will once again be counted in November.
This decision once more reminds us of the prescient words of Justice Ginsburg in her dissent in Shelby: ‘Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.’
The rainstorm hasn’t been this bad in more than 50 years because Shelby ushered in a resurgence of discriminatory voting changes, allowing politicians across the country to choose their voters instead of having voters choose them.
Congress currently has two bipartisan VRA restoration bills languishing without action. As we approach the first presidential election in 50 years without a fully functioning VRA, the stakes have never been higher. Congress must restore the VRA.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.