POLITICS
06/27/2013 10:10 pm ET Updated Jun 27, 2013

David Gergen Defends Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act Decision

Political commentator David Gergen weighed in on some of this week's big Supreme Court decisions in an interview with HuffPost Live at the Aspen Ideas Festival, saying that the court "split the difference" between their rulings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and the Voting Rights Act.

"Well obviously in one case they pleased the right on issues relating to the Voting Rights Act and in one case they pleased the left on gay marriage, so in some ways you could say roughly they split the difference," Gergen said.

The former presidential advisor applauded the court's rulings on gay rights, but also defended the controversial decision to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act.

"This is going to be politically incorrect," Gergen said, "but I think we should be careful and slow to condemn the court over the Voting Rights act."

Gergen argued that the era that made the Voting Rights Act essential has passed. "Times have changed," he said. "I'm from the south, from North Carolina. I grew up in the white segregated south. The Voting Rights Act in 1965 was absolutely right, it was a courageous act because we had a number of southern states that were clearly discriminating against blacks, were clearly holding down their right to vote, and they had to be taken to task, they were singled out in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, rightly so. But the point is we've come a long way since then, a lot of years have passed and I read -- I was surprised -- that the state with the biggest gap between black and white turnout rates is Massachusetts."

"I'm very very much for civil rights," Gergen added. "But I think if you're for civil rights I think you also ought to be respectful of people changing and you ought to applaud it."

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts claimed that Massachusetts has "the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American turnout," a statistic public officials in that state have since disputed.

"We have one of the the highest voter registrations in the country, so this whole effort to make a cheap-shot point at Massachusetts is deceptive," Massachusetts Secretary of State Galvin told the Boston Globe.

Watch the entire segment above.

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