Supreme Court ruling worries blacks in Ala county

AP News
Posted: Jun 26, 2013 2:25 PM

COLUMIBANA, Ala. (AP) — Black residents are wondering what might happen to their electoral chances in the Alabama county at the heart of the Supreme Court decision blocking part of a civil rights law.

Located near Birmingham, Shelby County has grown dramatically in the decades since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But white conservatives were in control of the county government both then and now.

Republican county school board chairman Aubrey Miller is the only black person holding countywide office in Shelby County, and he says the federal law is suffering a premature death. He fears the county will slide back toward discrimination.

County attorney Butch Ellis says the area has changed dramatically since the '60s, and Shelby County shouldn't be subjected to federal oversight of changes in its election practices.

Shelby County filed suit to block part of the Voting Rights Act in 2010 following an election challenge involving the city of Calera. The Supreme Court sided with the county in a decision Tuesday.