The Instigator
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The Contender
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The Supreme Court rightly decided that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act violated the Constitution.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 918 times Debate No: 46295
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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I have never done this before but I'll assume normal puf rules

Section 4 of the VRA was put into place to prevent voter discrimination in the 1970s. It is base off of information from that time frame, thus, I don't believe it is 'appropriate' legislation. Therefore I affirm the resolution for 3 main points:

-Point One: Does not Uphold 15th amend

The 15th amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" any is only allowed by congress through "appropriate legislation" as I will prove throughout today's round section 4, or the "legislation", is not "appropriate" thus, it does not uphold the 15th amendment. This leads to my

Point Two Violates 10th amendment.

The tenth amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Considering this is not upheld by the 15th amendment it is not a "delegated power", thereby violating the right for states to regulate their own voting. This is an obvious violation of our constitution.

Point 3: Section 4 not nessecary.

When we look to every state section 4 covers, the idea it is still need is ludicrous. Minority voting actually outnumbers whites in many states. This proves that this discrimination is not relevant enough to justify section 4 constitutional. The only way for section 4 to be justified as "appropriate" is if EVERY STATE UNDER SECTION 4 IS PROVEN TO HAVE DISCRIMINTION. If this is not proven section 4 is unssecary. The reason for this is it restricts areas for doing nothing wrong. It doesn't allow states to regulate their own voting, which is a violation of the 10th amendment.


I accept your challenge, good luck!

Like my opponent, I will be offering three main points.

-Point one: Section 4 is permissible under the constitution

The constitution explicitly permits the federal government to regulate elections:

First, in the elections clause, which reads: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators."

Here, the constitution allows Congress to make regulations and alter regulations upon state election procedures. This clause was later strengthened in the Supreme Court case of Foster V. Love which established that Congress can determine rules for modifying election procedures. (

Additionally, the prospect of leaving states to regulate their elections purely by themselves is unrealistic. If this were true, states would be allowed to institute incredibly racist election laws and the federal government could do nothing to change this, because that would fall under their supposedly reserved power.

Point 2: Section 2 remains relevant
The states that were previously covered under section 4 have returned to previously racist policies following the Supreme Court decision. In fact, more than 80 discriminatory laws have been introduced since the Supreme Court decision ( This process is referred to as backsliding, wherein states that made progress under section 4 lose that progress and revert to previously racist policies. In Justice Ginsburg's words, the decision is similar to throwing away your umbrella during a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.

Point 3: Under the fifteenth amendment, section 4 is essential
The fifteenth amendment is clear in stating that the right to vote shall not be abridged, and that Congress can implement this through appropriate legislation. While the opposition may assert that section 4 is not appropriate legislation, section 4 is the most appropriate legislation to enforce this principle. States are only required to preclear any changes to election procedures with the federal government before they are implemented. This acts as a deterrent, because states are hesitant to even attempt discriminatory voting legislation because they know that any new discriminatory law would be struck down by the DOJ. Such power remains essential today. Even in the 2012 election, "covered states have resurrected a voter suppression campaign reminiscent of late 1960s by using a myriad of methods to suppress minority and poor votes. (
Debate Round No. 1


So looking at my opponets first point where he states section four is constitutionally justified. I would like to state that in the 15th amendment it states that congress can do this but only under appropriate legislation. This isn't appropriate if nothing wrong is happening. If something wrong is happening, congress can obviously regulate it. But congress can't regulate section 4 specifically considering voter descrimination does not happen in every state section 4 covers. Moreover, if there is a violation section 2 and section 3 can prevent it, and this has actually happend. Look to Texas specifically were the VRA has already prevented it's potentially discriminatory laws.

Looking at my opponents second point he states more than 80 discriminatory laws have been put into place. I have two responses to this. First, the example doen't state that these discriminatory laws have been happening in the places section 4 has covered. Thus, we shouldn't take this into consideration because it isn't topical. Second, as I stated earlier, section 2 and 3 have affectivley prevented many laws. Moreover, this analytical rain that Ginsbug states is more like a sprinkle. In the states under section 4 minorties vote more often than whites. Thus, the umbrella that is being thrown away won't have any effect.

Looking at my opponents third point he states section 4 acted as a deterrant. However, states never were deterred because they didn't want to discriminate in the first place. Over 10000 cases have been preceared and 5 out of those 10000 have been discriminatory. Moreover, even if these states do pass discriminatory laws they will be stopped by section 2 and 3 as stated earlier. Also they state this is appropriate legislation, however, he has not proven that section 4 is nessecary to prevent discrimnation considering section 2 and 3 are in place. Also, he has not proven that dicscrimination is even abundent enough to justify preclearence, he just provides a bague example which I have proven section 2 and 3 have prevented,

Considering my opponent can't prove discrimination is prevelent enough to justify section four and that other legislation can't prevent the miniscule amount of discrimination that is still happening I urge a pro vote.


I'm just going to go over a few big points of conflict and explain why I'm winning them.

1) Discrimination is still prevalent in the states that were covered
My opponent continues making the claim that not every state that was covered is racist. He has legitimately no evidence of this at all. If he can provide an example of a previously covered state that has no racism/discrimination, I can have a more productive debate here.

My opponent makes the claim that the 80 laws that have been introduced were in non-section 4 states. However, within 24 hours of the Supreme Court decision, five previously covered states were already advancing discriminatory laws ( Even so, the 80 laws that were passed throughout 30 states proves that discrimination is widespread, and any check on discrimination of this kind is a good check.

2) Other alternatives are inferior to section 4
First, even if this is true, this does not make section 4 unconstitutional. Sections 2 and 3 still work even if section 4 is enacted, so those two sections hold little relevance.

However, sections 2 and 3 are still inferior replacements. With section 2, action can only be taken after a discriminatory action has occurred, meaning that someone can only file a lawsuit after they have been prevented from voting. Additionally, the minorities that are most likely to be discriminated against are typically going to be lower class citizens with less money, and in turn are less likely to have the resources necessary to file a lawsuit successful. Section 3 is actually an excellent reason to prefer our side - section 3 still works even if section 4 is enacted, and in turn we can use section 3 to place states under preclearance. Because of this, section 3 allows us to update the formula and keep the most racist states under preclearance.

3) Section 4 is effective
My deterrence argument still stands. My opponent makes the claim that only 5/10,000 cases are objected to - however, he fundamentally misunderstands my original argument. This is an excellent example of why deterrence works. Because of deterrence, states do not even attempt to pass racist legislation because there close to a 100% chance of it being shot down. This is why we see the low number of cases being objected to by the Department of Justice. Additionally, section 2 is not as effective at deterring legislation because lawmakers and legislators are more confident in being able to pass legislation when their only check is lower-class citizens. Vote negative!
Debate Round No. 2


Louisbrown_23 forfeited this round.


realslimbrady forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Shegorao 6 years ago
Are you a Public Forum debater looking for analytics? If so, do LD this month. The topic is terrible.
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