It's a race to see which set of numbers wins, Texas's growing and increasingly blue Latino population, or the five conservatives on the Supreme Court. We get a preview this week with an entire week's worth of oral arguments before the DC Circuit Court.
While it passed with bipartisan support more than 45 years ago, a shift in political preferences along racial lines has turned the landmark piece of civil rights era legislation into a highly charged political issue.
In the 1960s, Democrats held a monopoly of voters in the Southern states. But since then, most white Southern voters have shifted allegiances to the Republican Party, while black and Hispanic voters moved further toward the left.
That shift did not fully manifest itself until congressional redistricting last year, Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Columbia Law School, wrote in a to-be-released article in the Stanford Law & Policy Review. There have been more challenges to the Voting Rights Act in the past two years than in the previous 45 years combined. Among those challenges have been a redistricting case in Alabama and Florida's purging of voter lists of non-citizens earlier this year.
"We're seeing people who previously supported the act and what it stood for are now bringing challenges to it," said Ryan Haygood, director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The law is politically inconvenient for the GOP in 2012. The only way they stay in power with their decrepit, bigoted ideas is if the population allowed to vote stays increasingly white and wealthy and restricted to the fanatical partisans on the right who vote to keep it that way. So, the Civil Rights Act, preventing states like Texas from implementing near permanent Jim Crow laws on minorities, has to go.
They may get their wish.