The messaging has also reached the Hill. Democratic chiefs of staff, legislative directors and legislative assistants attended a briefing on the case last week that was hosted by House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee. More than 80 staffers showed up to hear presentations made by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Constitution Society, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
The Congressional Black Caucus plans to keep the issue in the limelight by holding a special “order hour” Monday evening on the House floor to address voting issues, including the Shelby County case. Caucus members are also hosting a news conference on the Supreme Court steps Wednesday morning in conjunction with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to be in attendance.
The crowd will likely be large. The Leadership Conference’s rally, which was planned on behalf of more than 50 organizations — including the Conference of National Black Churches, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, Rock the Vote and the United Auto Workers — will begin as soon as the news conference ends.
Buchman said rally organizers have received requests for logistical support from groups arriving from Chicago, Detroit, Pennsylvania and a college in Brooklyn. There will be speakers and entertainment as the justices hear the case, and she expects the crowd to remain well into the afternoon.
A group called Bridge Crossing Jubilee has been recruiting “freedom riders” on a special website that it reserved for the effort.
After lunch, the buses will depart for Richmond, Va., for another rally and then continue on a route through the South that includes stops at federal courthouses in Charlotte, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Atlanta; and in the Alabama cities of Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma.
“The primary goal is to simply reinforce to the court and to the nation that we all believe ... that the Voting Rights Act is relevant and it protects real voters from discrimination,” Buchman said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.