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Supreme Court makes historic voting rights law harder to enforce

Bill Mears and Greg Botelho | 6/26/2013, 4:41 a.m.
It was a law passed at the height of America's civil rights movement, when citizens in parts of the country ...
Barbara Arnwine, President & Executive Director of the national Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law ... says the SCOTUS ruling on voting rights undercuts a "great preventative stop sign" against voter suppression. She talked to the press on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 after the SCOTUS reached their decision. Paul Courson/CNN

— Specifically, he mentioned how it blocked Texas from adopting a new congressional redistricting map that would have "discriminated against Latino voters."

Holder also said the Voting Rights Act changed how South Carolina will implement a law requiring photo identification before being allowed to vote. Those changes, he said, protected black voters who would have been "disproportionately" affected.

President Obama characterized Tuesday's ruling as a "setback," even as he vowed his "administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process."

Voting discrimination, he said, still exists, and the decision "upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair."

But the sentiments were markedly different in Alabama, where Gov. Robert Bentley said the decision "reflects how conditions have improved."

"The justices correctly acknowledged that the covered jurisdictions should no longer be punished by the federal government for conditions that existed over 40 years ago," said Frank Ellis, the county attorney for Shelby County. "The South is an altogether different place than it was in 1965."

CNN's Bill Mears reported from Washington, and CNN's Greg Botelho reported and wrote from Atlanta.

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