12-11-2019  10:25 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Puget Soundkeeper and Waste Action Project Send Notice of Intent to Sue to Ardagh Glass

Violations listed include illegal discharges into the Duwamish River, failure to collect stormwater samples and failure to install required treatment systems

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Humane Society Celebrates the Adoption of the 11,000th Pet of 2019

Max, a two-year-old Labrador/Weimaraner mix, is going to a new home with the Dunlap family of Damascus ...

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

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Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

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Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

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Push to accelerate mustang captures draws fire in Congress

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Fewer kids report sex abuse in US juvenile detention centers

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New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

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OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

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Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

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Portland, I'm Ready

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Fears mount that New Jersey shooting was anti-Semitic attack

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Judge blocks enforcement of LA law that takes aim at NRA

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Trump signs order targeting college anti-Semitism

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ENTERTAINMENT

Eastwood on 'Richard Jewell,' criticism and finding stories

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For his film "Richard Jewell," Clint Eastwood takes aim at the media and federal investigators for what he sees as a rush to judgment after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. The 89-year-old director calls security guard Richard Jewell's story "a great American tragedy,"...

Ocasio-Cortez says Fox News airs 'unmitigated racism'

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'Parasite,' 'Bombshell' get a boost in SAG nominations

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U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Weinstein reaches tentative M deal with accusers

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AP Source: Angels, Anthony Rendon reach 5M, 7-year deal

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More Americans are dying at home rather than in hospitals

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Salvadoran woman marks 1 year in sanctuary near White House

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Protesters vent their anger as UN climate talks stutter

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Chile: Debris believed from missing plane carrying 38 found

PUNTA ARENAS, Chile (AP) — Debris believed to be from a military transport plane carrying 38 people that...

McMenamins
Bill Mears CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal civil rights law that has stood for generations needs to be modernized, the Supreme Court effectively ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-4 vote, justices limited the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, which Congress passed during the height of America's volatile civil rights movement.

The court struck down a part of the law that uses a federal formula to determine which states and counties must undergo U.S. oversight of their voting procedures to prevent voter discrimination.

The ruling will make it tougher for the Obama administration to enforce the law, at least until Congress changes it.

Describing the ruling as a "setback," President Obama said in a statement that 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. And he called on Congress to "pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls."

The ruling said it's now up to Congress to revise the law to meet constitutional scrutiny.

"Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to the current conditions," said Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the court's decision for the majority.

Key details of the ruling include:

• Section 4, the part of the law that was struck down, is the coverage formula the federal government uses to determine which states and counties are subject to continued oversight. Roberts said that formula from 1972 was outdated and unworkable.

• Section 5 of the law effectively cannot be enforced, because it relies heavily on the coverage formula. Civil rights groups say Section 5 has been an important tool to protect minority voters from local governments that would set unfair, shifting barriers to the polls. Without it, they warn, the very power and effect of the entire Voting Rights Act would crumble. But opponents of the provision counter it should not be enforced in areas where it can be argued that racial discrimination no longer exists.

• Under Section 5, any changes in voting laws and procedures in those covered states -- including much of the South -- had to be "precleared" with Washington. Such changes could have included something as simple as moving a polling place temporarily across the street.

The case arrived at the Supreme Court because officials in Shelby County, Alabama, filed suit against the federal government. The suit said monitoring of voting procedures under the law was overly burdensome and unwarranted.

The most recent congressional action on the formula was in 2006, when lawmakers reauthorized it.

"Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so," wrote Roberts. "Its failure leaves us today with no choice but to declare Section 4 unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance."

The appeal presented the court and its shaky conservative majority with two of the most hotly debated issues in politics and constitutional law: race and federalism.

It was a major test of Washington's authority and the extent to which the federal government may consider vestiges of voting discrimination that may still linger, potentially keeping some minority voters disenfranchised.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act seven years ago with "overwhelming bipartisan support."

"That determination of the body empowered to enforce the Civil Rights Amendments by appropriate legislation merits this court's utmost respect," she said. "In my judgment, the court errs egregiously by overriding Congress' decision."

She was supported by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The Obama administration had argued that states have gotten out of Section 5. In recent years, 31 cities and counties and Virginia successfully petitioned to be exempt from the preclearance requirements, though the rest of the state remains under federal oversight.

The Justice Department on Monday announced that Hanover County, north of Richmond, would also become exempt.

Shelby County, outside Birmingham, Alabama, did not make such a request and opposed Sections 4 and 5. It is 11% African-American, compared with 28% statewide.

Some conservative groups have argued that "ancient formulas" are being applied today, not to erase discrimination, but to benefit a particular political party. Some liberal activists counter that Section 5 and federal oversight are being demonized by many on the right for purely partisan gain, and to divide Americans again over race.

The case is Shelby County, AL v. Holder (12-96).

 

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