It only took a few minutes for the Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC's weekday “PoliticsNation” program, to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to overturn Section IV of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires regions to submit new apportionment plans to the Justice Department before any changes can be made.
“What they just [sic] done is really revoke a lot” of what Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “dream was all about,” Sharpton declared. “They just canceled the dream, and the children of the dream are not going to sit by and allow that to happen.”
Referring to what he'd like to see the president do regarding the Tuesday ruling, the MSNBC host stated:
I think the first thing we'd want is to see the president's continued commitment to protecting voters around the country, and I think his Justice Department has used this very section.
“But I think more than just hearing from the president, we're going to hear from people all over the country,” he noted. “Let’s not forget that with all the voting suppression last year, there was record turnout: people who stayed in line seven and eight hours because people are not going to be robbed of their right to vote.”
Without explaining “all the voting suppression last year,” Sharpton indicated that he and other black leaders across the country have been meeting for the last several months, so he will be able to call “an emergency summit within days to mobilize the national community.”
“The president and the Congress need to hear from us,” he continued. “We just announced yesterday the 50th anniversary march on Washington,” which will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to commemorate the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that took place in 1963 in the District of Columbia.
That event was attended by more than 250,000 people, making it the largest demonstration seen before then in the nation's capital and one of the first to have extensive television coverage.
However, because of the Supreme Court decision, Sharpton stated that this march “will now be remodeled around protecting voter rights.”
“We built a monument to Dr. King and part of -- at least half of what Dr. King’s dream was about was voter rights, ’65,” he added.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Sharpton wasn't the only person to criticize the Supreme Court's ruling.
Minutes after the decision, Terry Moran of ABC hysterically announced: "Right now, there is no voting rights act operative in the U.S."
Soon after, Andrea Mitchell used her weekday MSNBC program as a platform to give civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) the opportunity to push Congress to pass new laws that would replace the legislation the court had just struck down.
Also, CNN's Joe Johns declared the decision "a home run for conservatives who said this law shouldn't be in place," and "a big loss for those civil rights advocates who have been fighting to sustain this law year after year for decades."
Back at MSNBC, Joy-Ann Reid used the opportunity of serving as a guest host for Now With Alex Wagner to coax her overwhelmingly liberal panel to predict a "slow but steady erosion of voting rights in the South."
And if that wasn't enough hyperbole, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen compared Tuesday's ruling to two infamous Supreme Court decisions from the 19th century, the Dred Scott and Plessy cases.
Given the strong reaction to Tuesday's court decision, it's very likely that the rulings coming Wednesday morning regarding California's Proposition 8 -- which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state -- and the verdict on the Defense of Marriage Act passed years ago by Congress will result in a tumult whichever way the Justices rule.