Black Leaders React to Supreme Blow to Voting Rights Act

Disappointed, they say discrimination still exists at polls.

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A Sad Day for Civil Rights - Disappointing. Setback. Devastating. These are just a few of the words African-American leaders used to describe the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Here's what else they had to say. — Joyce Jones (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Obama Remarks on Supreme Court?s Voting Rights Act Ruling - ?Today?s decision invalidating one of the core provisions [of the Voting Rights Act] upset decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent?While today?s decision is a setback, it doesn?t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls,? said President Obama.  (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

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President Obama - "I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent."  (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder - "Our country has changed for the better since 1965 but the destination we seek has not yet been reached.  Indeed, a reading of today?s opinions demonstrates that every member of the Supreme Court agrees with this fact ? as the Chief Justice wrote, 'voting discrimination still exists: no one doubts that.'  This is why protecting the fundamental right to vote ? for all Americans ? will remain one of the Justice Department?s highest priorities."   (Photo: Mac Innes Photography/Department of The Taoiseach via Getty Images)

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Attorney General Eric Holder - "Our country has changed for the better since 1965 but the destination we seek has not yet been reached.  Indeed, a reading of today’s opinions demonstrates that every member of the Supreme Court agrees with this fact – as the Chief Justice wrote, 'voting discrimination still exists: no one doubts that.'  This is why protecting the fundamental right to vote – for all Americans – will remain one of the Justice Department’s highest priorities." (Photo: Mac Innes Photography/Department of The Taoiseach via Getty Images)

Marc Morial, National Urban League - "I'm more than disappointed. The Supreme Court has retrenched. ?We will be watching very carefully to see how states react to this, whether there's going to be a rush to introduce voter suppression legislation anew given the Supreme Court's decision."  (Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

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Marc Morial, National Urban League - "I'm more than disappointed. The Supreme Court has retrenched. …We will be watching very carefully to see how states react to this, whether there's going to be a rush to introduce voter suppression legislation anew given the Supreme Court's decision." (Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

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Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman Emeritus - "I think the chances [Congress will agree on a new formula] are slim and none. This is a dysfunctional Congress. This is something that's got to be left up to the people of the U.S. who've got to find ways to tell the Congress right now as often and as loudly as they can that we want this fixed, we want protections for people who want to register and vote and we want them now."(Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

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Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network - ?This is a devastating blow to those of us that need that protection, especially given the voter suppression schemes that we saw in 2012. ?They just canceled the dream and the children of the dream are not going to sit by and allow that to happen.? (Photo: Thomas Roberts via MSNBC)

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Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network - “This is a devastating blow to those of us that need that protection, especially given the voter suppression schemes that we saw in 2012. …They just canceled the dream and the children of the dream are not going to sit by and allow that to happen.” (Photo: Thomas Roberts via MSNBC)

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Wade Henderson, Conference on Civil and Human Rights - "Today’s decision is a major setback to our democracy and will have a real and detrimental impact on the voting rights of Americans. No one should be fooled by the naïve fantasy that voting discrimination no longer exists." (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ben Jealous, NAACP - ?This decision is outrageous. The court?s majority put politics over decades of precedent and the rights of voters. Congress must resurrect its bipartisan efforts from 2006 to ensure that the federal government has the power to preemptively strike racially discriminatory voting laws. Without that power, we are more vulnerable to the flood of attacks we have seen in recent years.? (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

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Ben Jealous, NAACP - “This decision is outrageous. The court’s majority put politics over decades of precedent and the rights of voters. Congress must resurrect its bipartisan efforts from 2006 to ensure that the federal government has the power to preemptively strike racially discriminatory voting laws. Without that power, we are more vulnerable to the flood of attacks we have seen in recent years.” (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund - "Today will be remembered as a step backward in the march toward equal rights. We must ensure that this day is just a page in our nation's history, rather than the return to a dark chapter."  (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund - "Today will be remembered as a step backward in the march toward equal rights. We must ensure that this day is just a page in our nation's history, rather than the return to a dark chapter." (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A Cultural Foundation - ?Her poetry became part of my cultural foundation. Beautifully and powerfully crafted, Maya Angelou?s poems inspired me and so many others to rise and to seek new phenomenal heights,? said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee. (Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Barbara Arnwine, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - "Today's decision was a terrible betrayal of the American people, a betrayal of our American democracy and the right of every voter to vote free of racial and ethnic discrimination." (Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Judith Browne Dianis - Judith Browne Dianis is a nationally recognized expert on voting rights issues. Perhaps more important, the co-director of the Advancement Project has helped make the organization a force to be reckoned with in the battle against efforts that disenfranchise African-Americans and other demographic groups. (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

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Judith Browne Dianis, The Advancement Project - "Eleven out of the 15 states covered by Section 5 enacted, or are pursuing, restrictive voting laws this year. And despite the climbing demographic power of voters of color that is often cited to discredit the provision, those turnout numbers were made possible only after the defeat of voter suppression bills challenged under Section 5. Today’s Supreme Court’s decision will make it harder to fight the voter restrictive bills that persist across the nation." (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) - "I think, more than anyone else, the commander in chief of a nation would be an excellent person to articulate both his mission, his passion and what is the impact and danger of chemical weapons," Jackson Lee said in response to whether Obama should make a case to the nation.  (Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) - "This current Congress is one that has not succeeded in passing any major legislation to help the American people in almost 4 years. [It] will see nothing but obstruction, delay and the introduction of voter suppression laws. This decision is far from reality, lacking in empathy and has taken the civil rights of populations that depended on federal law and shredded it!” (Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Cowan's Got Booker's Back - Massachusetts Sen. Mo Cowan, who will soon leave the U.S. Senate, is predicting that Cory Booker is headed to Congress. ?As I vacate the hallowed halls of Congress, perhaps he?ll come in not too late after me and continue what  I hope is a very popular trend in the Congress, particular in the Senate, which is to continue to show representation of all people,? Cowan said.  (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

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Sen. William "Mo" Cowan (D-Massachusetts) - “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court turned back years of progress that our country made to ensure that every single American, regardless of race, sex or where they live, can fairly participate in our democracy. I am extremely disappointed that the Court chose to weaken the Voting Rights Act by striking down such an important section, and I sincerely hope that Congress can come together and move swiftly to rectify this detrimental action." (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)