The Voting Rights Act effectively attacked persistent discrimination at the polls by keeping close watch, when it comes to holding elections, on those places with a history of preventing minorities from voting. Any changes, from moving a polling place to redrawing electoral districts, can’t take effect without approval from the Justice Department or federal judges in Washington.
In 2003, the Supreme Court held in Grutter v. Bollinger that public colleges and universities could consider the race of applicants in selecting a class of students with the diversity to succeed in the modern world. A brief submitted to the Supreme Court by several large corporations explained that students could develop “the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace” only through interactions inside and outside the classroom with “widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.”
Ben Jealous, the NAACP President, has expressed he would like to see President Obama appoint an African American woman to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ultimate authority over all federal courts and state courts, involving critical matters of federal law. Once appointed, justices have life-long tenure unless they choose to resign, retire, or are removed after impeachment.