Attorney General Eric Holder spoke Sunday to more than 500 people at Selma, Alabama’s bridge-crossing jubilee. It was the 44th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, a journey that was violently suppressed by Alabama state troopers but which helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a ruling that upholds a provision of the act that requires 16 states – mostly in the South — to clear voting law changes with Main Justice.
Critics of the provision say its outdated, arguing that racial minorities no longer are excluded from voting and that the provision interferes with state rights.
Reuters reported that Holder claimed that protecting the act was as important as fixing the broken economy and finding solutions to foreign wars. At the jubilee, Holder implored the audience:
“We must commit ourselves to continue to defend the Voting Rights Act that is under attack.”