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June 25th, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Rev. Jesse Jackson: Democracy was stabbed in the heart by Supreme Court ruling

In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court justices limited the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 on Tuesday, which Congress passed during the height of America's volatile civil rights movement.

"Democracy was stabbed in the heart today," said civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Jackson attended Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I Have A Dream" speech and was with him in Memphis when he was assassinated.

A lot has changed as America's struggle for equality has come a long way from where it was in the 1960s.

But Jackson said voter suppression remains a very serious problem.

"These state legislatures like Alabama, like Louisiana, they've tried to use redistricting, and they've tried to use voter suppression tactics and schemes to limit voting, and make voting more difficult," said Jackson.

The court struck down a part of the law that uses a federal formula to determine which states and counties must undergo U.S. oversight of their voting procedures to prevent voter discrimination.

"That's a very dangerous setback," said Jackson.

Jackson's organization, the Rainbow Push Coalition, said it will not stand idly by after the decision.

"I hope President Obama will  make a case to the nation why we must stop any scheme that suppresses voting access, and the right to vote, and to win," said Jackson.

"We must go back to the streets in great numbers and demand a broad-based public consensus, bottom up," said Jackson. "We've bled too much, we've died too young, and the price has been too great to now watch it stabbed in the heart by the Supreme Court today."

Watch the video above for our full interview with Rev. Jesse Jackson, including what Nelson Mandela means to him.

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