John Lewis On Voting Rights Act: Supreme Court ‘Put A Dagger in the Heart’ of the Law
By Melissa Jeltsen
Civil rights hero and longtime congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) reacted in dismay to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
Discussing the decision with ABC’s Jeff Zeleny after it was announced, Lewis said the Supreme Court had “put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act.”
In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down the provision of the civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws precleared by the Justice Department or a special federal court.
Lewis repeated his criticism of the court during an MSNBC appearance, calling the decision a ‘major step back.”
“These men that voted to strip the Voting Rights Act of its power, they never stood in unmovable lines, they never had to pass a so-called literacy test,” he said. “It took us almost 100 years to get where we are today. So will it take another 100 years to fix it, to change it?”
As a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Lewis played a key role in the push for voting rights protection.
Before the ruling, Lewis had called the Supreme Court case “one of the most important cases in our generation.”