WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A federal judge has upheld a portion of the Voting Rights Act that requires Justice Department monitoring of elections and voting in some parts of the country.
The Birmingham (Ala.) News reports the ruling Wednesday rejects Shelby County, Ala., officials' contention that the law was unnecessary, burdensome and unfair and should not have been reauthorized by Congress for 25 more years.
U.S. District Judge John Bates wrote in an order "both the historical context and the extensive evidence of recent voting discrimination reflected in that virtually unprecedented legislative record, the Court concludes that 'current needs' -- the modern existence of intentional racial discrimination in voting" justify Congress' extending the monitoring.
The decision is in keeping with arguments by the Justice Department and others who defend the Voting Rights Act.
"Understanding the preeminent constitutional role of Congress under the 15th Amendment to determine the legislation needed to enforce it, and the caution required of the federal courts when undertaking the 'grave' and 'delicate' responsibility of judging the constitutionality of such legislation -- particularly where the right to vote and racial discrimination intersect -- this court declines to overturn Congress' carefully considered judgment," Bates wrote.