Texas and other southern states are off the hook for now, in having to obtain federal approval when it comes to new voting laws. The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that provision in the Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new system.
"What the Supreme Court is saying is that Congress has got to update the statistics, update the formula to account for what has happened over the last 40 years," says "Rocky" Rhodes at the South Texas College of Law.
However, Rhodes tells KTRH News the ruling doesn't say safeguards against discrimination are no longer needed.
"This is an old and outdated coverage formula based on things done back in the 1960s and 70s, and if you want to have pre-clearance going on into the future you need to have a coverage formula that is more current with the respect to what are the conditions now that justify its use," he says.
Rhodes says given Congress' inability to pass anything, it may be a while before a new formula is put in place.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee issued a statement saying the Supreme Court turned the clock back 150 years.
“In 2006 as a Senior Member on House Judiciary Committee I participated in a bipartisan effort to secure a reasoned legislative reauthorization of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As a Committee, we established a record of 15,000 pages of important testimony. However, this current Congress is one that has not succeeded in passing any major legislation to help the American people in almost 4 years. Every major legislative action that has passed successfully was passed by Democrats and often with no Republicans voting for the legislation," said the Houston Democrat.
“The present Congress will see nothing but obstruction, delay and the introduction of voter suppression laws. This decision is far from reality, lacking in empathy and has taken the civil rights of populations that depended on federal law and shredded it!”
Voting rights advocates however, believe the ruling is a step in the right direction.
"In the months leading up to this decision, the nation has come to realize, through an assortment of scandals and revelations, just how far the federal government has reached into the daily lives of ordinary citizens," True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said.