Tuesday, June 25, 2013

John Lewis: Supreme Court "Stabbed The Voting Rights Act" In The Heart

In its latest manifestation of conservative judicial activism, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Without this provision designating sections of the country that cannot change their election laws without federal approval, the Act is effectively dead. The ruling is especially disheartening in view of Republican voter suppression efforts. In fact, Texas, one of the states monitored by Section 4, immediately announced that a previously blocked voter ID law would go into effect and that the state will no longer have to submit redistricting maps. No one could articulate the disappointment in this ill-conceived ruling better than Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), veteran civil rights leader who had his skull fractured in the 1960s struggle for voting rights. Listen to Lewis as he spoke to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:



LEWIS: I was disappointed because what I think what the court did today is stab the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in its very heart. It is a major setback. We may not have people being beaten today, maybe they're not being denied the right to participate, to register to vote, they're not being chased by police dogs or trampled by horses. But in the 11 states of the old Confederacy and even in some of the states outside of the South, there has been a systematic, deliberate attempt to take us back to another period. And these men that voted to strip the Voting Rights Act of its power, they never stood in unmovable lines, they never had to pass a so-called literacy test. It took us almost a hundred years to get where we are today. So, will it take another hundred years to fix it, to change it? I call upon my colleagues in the Congress to get it right, to fix it. 

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