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Supreme Court hearing arguments over landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act

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Demonstrators and Congressional Democrats rallied outside the Supreme Court, asking the justices not to overturn a part of the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 19-65 to remove all barriers from voting, especially in the racially divided south.

Today the Supreme Court is hearing arguments that challenge the part of the act that still requires nine states and parts of seven others to get approval from the Justice Department before changing voting procedures or electoral maps.

The lawsuit originated from Shelby County, Alabama. Lawyers there say times have changed and the provision is a burden on local governments.

Most of the southern states this part of the law covers are fighting to have it overturned. But the Obama administration and civil rights activists say the provision is still needed to protect voters.

They point to recent state laws limiting early voting or requiring voters to get government issued photo IDs.
But Carrie Severino from the judicial crisis network says other parts of the Voting Rights Act will continue to prohibit discrimination.

Four years ago the Supreme Court looked at this issue. The justices expressed doubts then, but left the law alone.

The court is expected to issue its ruling in this case in June.

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