Repeal of Section 5 " will set us back by centuries ," said New York Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
La Raza president Janet Murguia reminded the audience of the august words that adorn the front portico of the U.S. Supreme Court , just above the columns: " EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW " (reminiscent of the 14 th Constitutional Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, proving for equal protection, in the context of elections, among other venues).
Comedian and long time civil rights activist Dick Gregory said that "we're not pimps -- pimps think that they are in control !" and later added a strong suggestion for how to get back at the " one percent " for their racism: "We'll boycott Christmas !"
Testimonies to the effectiveness of Section 5 in curbing blatant discrimination were frequent [more enumerated after I left by a roster of lawyers who subsequently addressed the many who remained]. Last-minute precinct-site changes were overruled, for example. First-time Representative Marc Vesey (D-TX) said that Section 5 is essential to his state, where the Latino population is rapidly expanding, but where " hundreds of thousands of minorities " were kept from voting in 2012.
The Lone Star State's polling place Photo ID law, the " harshest " in the nation, was blocked thanks to Section 5, according to another speaker.
Among the chants taken up by the crowd were " Let my people vote !" " No vote, no hope !" " Section 5 must stay alive !" " Section 5 must survive and thrive !" and "We're just as strong and can stand just as long !"
Shelby County v Holder will be decided early this summer (2013).