WASHINGTON DC, July 3, 2013–The U.S. Supreme Court decision June 25 striking down part of the Voting Rights Act “necessitates legislative action to assure that no one is denied their right or obligation to participate in public life by voting or speaking out,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity. The statement follows.
“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has long played a leadership role in securing and protecting the rights of all citizens to vote, including the Voting Rights Act. The recent Supreme Court decision necessitates that Congress act swiftly to assure that the right to vote be protected and afforded to all eligible citizens. Corresponding to this right is the moral obligation that each of us has to participate in public life. In the U.S. bishops’ statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, we wrote ‘In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.… Participation in political life in light of fundamental moral principles is an essential duty for every Catholic and all people of good will.’ We urge policymakers to quickly come together to reaffirm the bipartisan consensus that has long supported the Voting Rights Act and to move forward new legislation that assures modern and effective protections for allvoters so that they may exercise their right and moral obligation to participate in political life.”