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Supreme Court Limits Federal Oversight Of Voting Rights Act

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The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act, weakening a tool the federal government has used for nearly five decades to block discriminatory voting laws.

By a vote of five to four, the court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional.

That section of the landmark 1965 law provides the formula for determining which states must have any changes to their voting laws pre-approved by the Justice Department's civil rights division or the D.C. federal court.

Nine states are required to get pre-clearance, as are certain jurisdictions in seven other states.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The court could have made a much broader ruling by striking down Section 5, which dictates that those states must get pre-clearance.

However, the court decided that the Justice Department still has a role in overseeing voting laws.