|2012 celebration of the March on Selma|
No surprise, the celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma is this weekend. Only one Republican, belatedly, after being pressured, is attending. Nearly the entire body of Democrats and Independents from Congress, and the President are present, in contrast.
The conservative majority of the SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 two years ago. Conservatives in Congress shared their desire for voter suppression.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday gutted a core part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act and challenged Congress to come up with a replacement plan to protect blacks and other minorities in places where discrimination still persists rather than target former slaveholding states in the South.The facts were not outdated. And the decision resulted in the passage of voter suppression laws in a number of states, all states controlled by extremely conservative Republicans (some of whom used to be conservative democrats).
In a 5-4 ruling with the court's conservatives in the majority, the justices ruled that Congress had used outdated facts in continuing to force nine states, mainly in the South, to get federal approval for voting rule changes affecting blacks and other minorities.
While the claim is made that there is no racial animus in these laws, that it is in fact simply targeted at keeping majority Democratic demographics from voting, that should not be regarded as a legitimate pretext either. NO American should have unreasonable difficulty put in place as an obstacle to their voting. And to suggest that there is no longer racial animus or that we are post-racial denies facts evident in daily headlines across this country. There is still tremendous racial inequality. Some of that was by design in the past, and more of it has been by design after the SCOTUS decision.
It is further worth noting that since the decision handed down from the SCOTUS, the Republican controlled house under conservative John Boehner has done nothing to move forward any further action on the voting rights act, nor has the Senate where Republicans have consistently been obstructive.
It is also worthy of note that the original 1965 legislation, drafted by Democrats, under a Democratic administration, had the support of more liberal Republicans when it passed, and was opposed exclusively on the Democratic side by Dixie-crat southern affiliated conservatives.
And finally, it is worth noting here that a Wisconsin Republican authored a piece of legislation, introduced to the Judiciary committee in January of 2014, with the support of a genuinely bi-partisan list of co-sponsors. Under Republican control of the House of Representatives, it has never gotten out of committee. This followed an introduction of the same legislation in 2013.
It is past time, as we celebrate the catalyst for the 1965 Voteing Rights legislation, the March on Selma, that we pressure the racist and bigoted radical right that has a choke hold on any responsible governance coming out of the Congress, and if they are unresponsive, remove them from their positions in 2016.
Summary: H.R.3899 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)
Shown Here:Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 - Amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to the requirement that a federal court retain jurisdiction for an appropriate period to prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote. Expands the types of violations triggering the authority of a court to retain such jurisdiction to include certain violations of the Act as well as violations of any federal voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.
Introduced in House (01/16/2014)
Excludes from the list of violations triggering jurisdiction retention authority any voting qualification or prerequisite which results in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote that is based on the imposition of a requirement that an individual provide a photo identification as a condition of receiving a ballot for voting in a federal, state, or local election.
Revises requirements for determining which states and political subdivisions are covered or not covered by criteria for declaratory judgments that they have not used devices to deny or abridge the right to vote.
Subjects to the requirements for making such a determination any state (and all of its political subdivisions) during a calendar if 5 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 15 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself (as opposed to a political subdivision within it).
Specifies application of such new coverage requirements to any specific political subdivision if: (1) 3 or more voting rights violations occurred in it during the previous 15 calendar years; or (2) 1 or more voting rights violations occurred in it during the previous 15 calendar years and the subdivision had persistent, extremely low minority turnout during that period.
Provides that, if a state obtains a declaratory judgment that it has not used a device to deny or abridge the right to vote, the requirements for a new declaratory judgment generally will not apply, unless the new coverage requirements of this Act apply to the state solely on the basis of voting rights violations occurring after the declaratory judgment was issued.
Prescribes transparency requirements, including reasonable public notice, regarding any changes to: (1) voting prerequisites, standards, or procedures; (2) polling place resources; or (3) demographics and electoral districts.
Modifies authority to assign observers, including authorizing the assignment of observers to enforce bilingual election requirements.
Revises requirements for injunctive relief, including its scope and the persons authorized to seek relief as well as the grounds for granting it.
The identical legislation was introduced in the senate, courtesy of govtrack.us:
S. 1945 (113th): Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014
- Jan 16, 2014 113th Congress, 2013–2015
- Died in a previous CongressThis bill was introduced on January 16, 2014, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted.
- Patrick Leahy Senior Senator from Vermont Democrat
- Read Text » Last Updated: Jan 16, 2014 Length: 27 pages