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Court to Take on Reverse Discrimination, Voting Rights

Change may come to America in the form of new standards in civil rights. On Friday, the US Supreme Court decided that it would hear two cases, one dealing with work discrimination and the other with voting discrimination. Depending on how the court rules later this year, these cases could change the landscape of US civil rights law.

The first case involves Connecticut firefighters who say that even though they scored highest on the exam, they were not given promotions because they were white. Instead, the test was scrapped after no minorities qualified, and the promotions were given to African Americans. The white firefighters have lost their legal battles so far, as lower courts ruled that federal law forbids exams that have a disproportional impact on minorities.

The other law in question, a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, requires 16 mostly southern states to get federal clearance before making a change to their local voting rules. A lower court ruled last Spring that Congress was reasonable to determine that voting discrimination still persists, thus upholding the clearance requirement.

The election of the first African American president has sent a strong signal that national race relations have changed in the US, but organizations like the NAACP point out that a lot of work remains. Do you think it's time for the Supreme Court to strike down laws that help promote minority working and voting rights?


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