Appeals Court Approves Key Voting Rights Provision

Washington, D.C. – A federal appeals court has upheld a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and rejected a challenge by Shelby County, Ala., to the landmark civil rights law.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court said that Congress developed extensive evidence of continuing racial discrimination and reached a reasonable conclusion when it reauthorized the section of the law six years ago.

Appeals Judge David Tatel wrote for the majority that the court owes deference to Congress's judgment on the matter.

The act's section 5 requires state, county and local governments with a history of discrimination to obtain advance approval from the Justice Department, or from a federal court in Washington, for any changes to election procedures.

It currently applies to nine states and parts of seven others

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)