(LIN) — Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that seeks to revise part of the Voting Rights Act.
The part of the act under scrutiny is Section 5, which makes it mandatory for certain states to get approval from the federal government before making changes to its voting procedures.
A majority of the states included in this requirement are in the South, where history tells a story of struggle and hardship for voter equality and protections.
While the idea of protecting the voting rights of all is a good thing, what many may not realize is the extent of the federal government on their state's rights, and how their own individual rights may be impacted as a result.
On Feb. 27, a lawmaker from Shelby County, Ala., argued to the court in his case against Attorney General Eric Holder that the reasons for Section 5 – namely racial discrimination – are no longer a relevant argument in his district anymore.
The constitutionality of Section 5 is questioned in this case, citing that the formula used to determine which states get the special treatment is outdated and based on voter turnout information from 1972.
Alabama is one of the only nine states in Section 5 that are covered as a whole by the pre-clearance provision. The following states must submit all changes to voting procedures to the Attorney General before enacting them at the polls:
• South Carolina
In addition to those nine, sections of 13 other states – including Michigan, North Carolina and New York – must also play by the same rules.
The question the Court must address is if this section puts an undue burden on the states affected.
And perhaps Justice Anthony Kennedy knew this when he said during arguments, "The Marshall Plan was very good, too — the Northwest Ordinance, the Morrill Act — but times change."
Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia expressed his concern that the only reason it was renewed again in 2006 was because nothing could be gained politically for voting against it, saying, "Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?"
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor challenges if Alabama has changed, rebutting Rein's argument with, "Some parts of the South have changed. Your county pretty much hasn't. You may be the wrong party bringing this."
The question all Americans must ask themselves is if the right to vote is a universal, inalienable right that Americans have, then how can voting rights in each state be treated differently?
No one is making the argument that discrimination didn't exist, especially in the South. It's alive and well today, but not just in the South.
The state of Alabama may not be the best example of ideal race relations, but who's to say discriminatory practices don't happen in Rhode Island?
The only fair decision the U.S. Supreme Court may have to make is either enforce Section 5 for all states, or get rid of it all together.
A Fort Wayne man was arrested after he apparently threw an alcoholic drink on his pregnant girlfriend and then hit her in the ear while her two small children were asleep in the home.
Police have charged six people and are still looking for one woman they believe is living in the Fort Wayne area. She faces meth dealing charges.
A Fort Wayne man is facing eight charges after he spit on a police officer who arrested him. He also spit on nurses and other officers while being treated at a local hospital.
Fort Wayne area firefighters, police officers, and EMT's are competing in the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive this holiday season.
Indiana residents receiving food stamps will begin receiving their monthly benefits on new dates under a state law approved earlier this year.
Police have identified a person of interest in Sunday’s stabbing outside of a home on Bluebird Court, off of St. Joe Road.
Police in Indianapolis say a seventh-grade boy has died after apparently collapsing and being found face down in the snow.
Police are looking for a white man who is 6'0" to 6'2" with a thin build they say robbed a CVS in November. He may have been driving a gray or dark green Ford SUV.
Police from several agencies have responded to multiple crashes overnight due to slick roads from a wintry mix that moved through the area late Sunday and early Monday morning.
A rural Angola man faces six felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman.
A local family wants help in making sure their loved one's murderer stays in prison.
Police said a man barricaded himself inside of a home on Genessee Avenue early Sunday morning for more than two hours after threatening to commit suicide.
Detectives believe a three-year-old boy may have shot himself at a home in Indianapolis Saturday night. Police said the shooting appears to have been accidental.
There will be several holiday-themed events this weekend in the Fort Wayne area, including Christmas displays, children’s parties, visits from Santa Claus, and more.
The 122nd Fighter Wing hosted the annual Airman of the Year Awards on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the achievements of members of the 122nd.