The Rev. Jesse Jackson says the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of the landmark Voting Rights Act is a "devastating blow."
The longtime civil rights leader and former presidential candidate says Tuesday's ruling threatens decades of progress in ensuring that minorities aren't denied the right to vote.
The high court ruled that Congress must update its formula for deciding which states and local governments still need federal approval before changing voting laws. It says the formula in the 1965 act is based on old patterns of discrimination that might no longer be valid.
Jackson says the ruling will destroy gains in "inclusion and expansion."
He says he's called the White House to encourage President Obama and the Department of Justice to "speak out today" and challenge the ruling.
In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said he is "I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision."
"For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent."