This morning, the high Court’s conservatives ruled that the reenactment of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, was not narrowly and specifically tailored to fit current conditions. Specifically, the Court held that a requirement that 15 southern states get advance approval from the federal government before changing its voting laws, procedures and locations was unconstitutional.
The majority held that lawmakers, “reenacted a formula based on 40-year-old facts, having no logical relationship to the present day.” The specific provision of the law is known as Section 5, or the preclearance portion.
The minority was upset by gerrymandering that they perceive as racists, which actually happens everywhere. Gerrymandering is by definition, the slicing up of demographics. The NAACP dramatically lamented that the decision “leaves virtually unprotected minority voters in communities all over this country”.
But let’s be clear about a few things. First, this does not invalidate the Voting Rights Act. In fact, there are still a few provisions that can be used to fight racism in voting. Section 2 notably, may still be used to challenge practices that cut against minority voters in elections. Living in a state covered by the Civil Rights Act, where we have to ask the feds for their permission to put into place legitimate election laws, I am glad that this provision has been overturned. What this decision really does is shift the burden back on the complainant to prove discrimination is taking place, rather than on the state.
Under the Fifteenth Amendment, Congress does have the power to enforce voting fairness laws when dealing with issues of race. But it would stand to legislative reason that it should be narrowly tailored to correct problems. As Justice Roberts has noted, this provision seems broad and like something from a different era. Democrats often joke that Republicans want to take women back to the 1920’s. Well the provisions of this law were holding us in the 1960’s.
The left is hypersensitive about voting issues because they are constantly worried about signing up new voters. But moves to stop election fraud are not nefarious republican attempts to block minorities from the polls.
This decision is a big win for southern states that are still being punished for the sins of their fathers.