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SCOTUS Voting Rights Act Decision Means We Need "Right to Vote" Amendment

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Source: The Nation

What the US Supreme Court has done, with its  decision to strike down essential elements of the Voting Rights Act , is wrong.

But the Court has not gone so rogue as might immediately seem to be the case in a nation that our civics teachers tell us is committed to democratic values.

Rather, the Court's conservative majority has taken advantage of a gap in the Constitution that must be addressed.

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The Court's 5-4 ruling invalidated the formula used to determine which states come under the requirement that changes to voting laws, procedures and polling place locations in all or part of 15 targeted states be approved in advance by the Justice Department or a panel of federal judges. The ruling says that Congress went too far in seeking to prevent racial discrimination in voting when it reauthorized the historic act in 2006, with votes of 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House.

It fell to Congressman John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who came to national prominence as a civil right movement campaigner for voting rights to say it: "Today, the Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shares that viiew. The justice, in a scathing dissent, wrote, "After exhaustive evidence-gathering and deliberative process, Congress reauthorized the VRA, including the coverage provision, with overwhelming bipartisan support. In my judgment, the Court errs egregiously by overriding Congress's decision."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about (more...)
 

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