Chris Coons Plotting Legislative Response If Voting Rights Act Is Gutted

03/06/2013 02:21 pm ET | Updated Mar 06, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is hoping the Supreme Court doesn't strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, but he'll be prepared if they do.

Coons told Attorney General Eric Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday that he'd like to work with the Justice Department "should there be a change in the status of the Voting Rights Act." The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week on whether to strike down Section 5 of the 1965 law, which forces certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to get the federal government's permission to make changes to their voting laws and procedures.

"I'd love to work with you on whether there's room going forward for expedited proceedings or for special ways to make sure that voting cases still get heard, and some either reauthorization or strengthening or replacement for the Voting Rights Act," Coons told Holder.

Coons spokesman Ian Koski told HuffPost he didn't have any details to share yet. "Still hoping it won't be necessary," Koski said of the contingency plan.

Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the official who heads DOJ's Civil Rights Division, told HuffPost last month that he was confident the court would uphold Section 5, but was coy when asked whether the division was making preparations in case the court struck it down.

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