By Lauren Williams
August 6, 2013
President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law 48 years ago today. But in June, the conservative justices on the Supreme Court struck down a major section of the law, freeing jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to change their voting laws without federal permission. For decades, Section 5 of the VRA required a number of jurisdictions, mostly in the South, to seek the feds’ approval—called preclearance, in legal parlance—before modifying voting rules. The Supreme Court’s decision gutted Section 5, paving the way for new discriminatory laws.