President Obama Meets with Civil Rights Leaders on the Voting Rights Act
July 30, 2013 — President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and other senior administration officials met yesterday at the White House with several civil rights leaders, including Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), to discuss voting rights in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. Although the Court struck down the coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the President reaffirmed the federal government’s key role in protecting the fundamental right to vote.
“We are encouraged that the President underscored the importance of the Voting Rights Act, not just for African American and Latino voters in the South but also for Asian American voters,” said AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung. “He pledged that the Justice Department will continue using the remaining provisions of the VRA to their maximum effect in challenging discrimination against minority voters.”
The meeting took place a few days after Attorney General Holder announced that the Justice Department was asking a Texas federal court to require that state and local officials secure federal approval of voting changes under the “bail-in” provisions of the VRA.
“We look forward to working with a broad coalition of civil rights groups to secure bipartisan support in Congress to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and restore its role in opening up the democratic process for all Americans,” said Fung.