A divided Supreme Court struck down Tuesday as unconstitutional a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the section of the landmark civil rights law that has required parts of the U.S. with histories of discrimination at the polls to get federal permission before changing their voting laws. "Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision. Congress had renewed the act four times, most recently in 2006. But the court found the formula used for deciding which places need federal permission to change their voting laws was outdated — leaving it to a divided Congress to redraw the map. "In practice, in reality, it’s probably the death knell of this provision," said NBC News' Supreme Court analyst and SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein. President Barack Obama said he was "deeply disappointed" in the ruling.
Obama "Deeply Disappointed" by Ruling on VRA
FILE - In this June 27, 2012 file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. DNA may be the building blocks of life, but can something taken from it be the building blocks of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly? The Supreme Court will grapple with that question Monday, April 15, 2013, as it delves into an issue that could reshape medical research in the United States, in the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer, and the billion-dollar medical and biotechnology business: Can human genes be patented? The court's decision could have a wide-ranging effect. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Updated at 12:30 PM EST on Friday, Aug 23, 2013