The poor old Voting Rights Act, one of the few pieces of legislation that people actually died trying to pass, has been limping along on one leg since the Supreme Court took a chainsaw to it in 2013. On Monday, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals may have struck the first blow in the coup de grace. From The New York Times:
The ruling, made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, found that only the federal government could bring a legal challenge under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a crucial part of the law that prohibits election or voting practices that discriminate against Americans based on race. The court of appeals found that the text of the Voting Rights Act did not explicitly contain language for “a private right of action,” or the right of private citizens to file lawsuits under the law. Therefore, the court found, the right to sue would effectively lie with the government alone. Should the ruling stand, it would remove perhaps the most important facet of the Voting Rights Act; the majority of challenges to discriminatory laws and racial gerrymanders have come from private citizens and civil rights groups.