Rep. Sewell Statement on the 8th Anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder Decision
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) released the following statement on the 8th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision which gutted key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) and removed federal oversight from states with a proven track record of voter suppression:
“Today is a somber one, marking 8 years since one of the most disastrous Supreme Court decisions of our time: Shelby County v. Holder. On June 25, 2013, the Court gutted key protections of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark Civil Rights law that—for decades—prevented states from restricting the right to vote. Since that decision, voter suppression has accelerated, with almost 400 restrictive bills being introduced in 48 states.
“In its decision, the Court declared that voting discrimination was an issue of the past. They were wrong. Immediately, states enacted laws to purge voter rolls, close polling stations, and restrict voting access. Many laws targeted minority communities with surgical precision.
“Every year on the anniversary of the Shelby County decision, we renew our efforts to restore the vote. But this year, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Driven by the Big Lie, extremist politicians are working overtime to erect barriers to the ballot box and silence certain voices. They may not be forcing Black voters to count jelly beans in a jar, but make no mistake: these efforts are the same old tricks in disguise.
“My bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, would restore the VRA and prevent states from enacting restrictive, anti-voter laws. In Congress, I am hard at work drafting this legislation with the House Judiciary Committee and stakeholder groups so that we can protect the precious right to vote for generations to come.
“As my friend, mentor, and former colleague, the late Congressman John Lewis said, ‘Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.’
“This is our time to act. Our democracy is at stake.”