The Voting Rights Act of 1965 accomplished what the Fifteenth Amendment alone could not: safeguarding minority voting rights. One of the Act’s key enforcement provisions, Section 2, has helped protect not only minorities’ access to the polls but also their right to an undiluted vote against potentially discriminatory means such as legislative redistricting. By prohibiting minority vote dilution even when a legislative redistricting plan is drawn strictly for political gain, Section 2 has also become one of the only checks on partisan gerrymandering. Yet a certain confluence of circumstances puts Section 2 at risk of being either struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional or eviscerated, leaving the narrower interpretation of Section 2 that Chief Justice Roberts advocated when he worked at the Justice Department. These circumstances—the polarization of Congress, the ideological disposition of the Supreme Court, and the changing composition of the electorate—threaten to squelch the minority vote just as it amasses the potential to swing presidential elections and, thus, the futures of the political parties.
The Perrymander, Polarization, and Peyote v. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,
46 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1075
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol46/iss3/7