Highly popular, landmark legislation under fire...again...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2011, 4:00pm PT  

Via AP...

WASHINGTON—A federal judge is questioning whether a key component of the landmark Voting Rights Act is outdated.

At a hearing Wednesday in Washington, U.S. District Judge John Bates asked repeatedly about a section of the law that singles out mostly Southern states for additional election monitoring because they have histories of racial discrimination 40 or 50 years ago.

An Alabama county is suing the government over the law in a case that many predict will reach the Supreme Court.

Shelby County, with backing from conservative legal groups, maintains that it and other governments should no longer be forced to get federal approval before changing election procedures. The Justice Department and others counter that the localities are now using more subtle means to suppress minority votes.

No time, at the moment, to even begin responding to, or digging into, this one. But seems like we should put it on your radar. So for now, there it is. Please have at it.

For the record, the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been re-authorized by Congress four times since it was originally created and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The VRA's most recent re-authorization, for another 25 years, was signed by George W. Bush in 2006 after it was passed by the Republican-led U.S. House 390 to 33, and by the U.S. Senate in a unanimous 98 to 0 vote.

[Hat-tip @PourMeCoffee via Twitter.]