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Civil rights activists denounce decision on voting rights law

Tuesday - 6/25/2013, 4:11pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Civil rights activists are denouncing today's Supreme Court ruling that keeps the federal government from using what has been its most powerful tool against discrimination at the ballot box.

The head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, calls it "a step backwards in the march towards equal rights."

The court today rejected a provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires some states and localities to get federal approval before changing voting laws. The five-to-four decision said the law no longer reflects progress that's been made in the nation since it was enacted a half century ago.

The Rev. Al Sharpton says it's "a devastating blow" to African-Americans who he says "are now at the mercy of state governments."

But Republican congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina says it's "a win for fairness" and for "the rule of law." He says today's ruling "will hopefully end the practice of treating states differently." And he says the court is recognizing "that we live in 2013, not the 1960s."

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219-w-34-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Wade Henderson, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights)--Civil rights groups are condemning the high court's voiding of a key aspect of the Voting Rights Act. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (25 Jun 2013)

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