Tag Archives: threshold

Linda Monk discusses the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Update)

Let’s go to school. I was confused about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Was does it do? Why was it necessary? Why was Section Five so important? Constitutional scholar Linda Monk answers all of these questions and more.

As you listen to this podcast, I would encourage you to check out some references. First, here is the Voting Rights Act. Secondly, Linda mentions a case that I had never heard of – South Carolina verses Katzenbach (more information here). You should also review the 15th amendment, which gives Congress the power to make voting fair across the US. We discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. Finally, we discuss Eric Holder’s bid to try and make sure that elections are fair for everyone.

This is a great interview and conversation. Sit back and enjoy.

Update: Linda Monk clarifies: “FYI, technically the Supreme Court did NOT decide to strike down Section 5 of the VRA; it struck down the threshold definition used in Section 4, which meant that Section 5 did not kick in.” As usual, I was kind of clueless. So, I went back to the Voting Rights Act and looked at Section 4. Of course, Linda is correct. Here’s how ScotusBlog puts it – Today the Court issued its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the challenge to the constitutionality of the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. That portion of the Act was designed to prevent discrimination in voting by requiring all state and local governments with a history of voting discrimination to get approval from the federal government before making any changes to their voting laws or procedures, no matter how small. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts that was joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, the Court did not invalidate the principle that preclearance can be required. But much more importantly, it held that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which sets out the formula that is used to determine which state and local governments must comply with Section 5’s preapproval requirement, is unconstitutional and can no longer be used. Thus, although Section 5 survives, it will have no actual effect unless and until Congress can enact a new statute to determine who should be covered by it.

More jobs than we originally thought

This is unexpected good news. Oh, wait. There is a group of Americans who can’t stand any good economic news. This will be seen by Fox News as evidence that the Obama administration is playing with the numbers. Whatever. As far as I know, when the numbers are bad conservatives are plenty happy with the BLS. It is only when the numbers start to look better that they have a problem.

From TP:

New data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the private-sector added 450,000 more jobs as of March 2012 than previously thought. This means that the economy has crossed the threshold and more jobs have been created than lost during President Obama’s term.

This is a remarkable accomplishment—and one that would not have happened without the Recovery Act and other policies developed by this administration and passed by the 111th Congress in 2009. When President Obama was sworn in, the economy was losing jobs to the unprecedented tune of over 20,000 per day. Between the beginning of 2008 and February 2010 when the tide began to turn, the economy lost nearly 8.8 million jobs—4.3 million on Obama’s watch and almost 4.5 million under President Bush’s.

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law and funds began almost immediately moving their way through the economy and the pace of job losses slowed, turning positive a year later. Since February 2010, including the newly revised data, the economy has added 4.4 million total payroll jobs, an average of 135,00 per month.

Even so, today’s data contained another glaring statistic: the economy has lost more than 700,000 public sector jobs since 2009, holding back the overall recovery. Without those losses, our unemployment rate would be at least a full point lower.

Celebration: Senate Passes Healthcare Bill!! Update

As I said earlier, I think that this is the best bill that we can do now. Go buy healthcare stock. Let’s fix the undo influence of business on/in our government then we can revisit healthcare.

From TPM:

This morning, after a year-long fight with Republicans, and a weeks-long debate, which ultimately pitted Democrat against Democrat, and liberal against liberal, the Senate passed a historic bill calling for major reforms of the U.S. health care system by a vote of 60-39.

Presiding over the Senate, in a rare appearance, was Vice President Joe Biden. As Senate chair, the Vice President can serve as the tie-breaking vote in the event of a 50-50 deadlock. But tonight’s victory for Democrats was never in doubt.

Over the course of this week, Democrats have passed several test votes–set at a 60-member, supermajority threshold. The only question this morning was, would they keep all of their members united for the final vote.

In the end they did.

Now, Congressional Democrats face one more major challenge: merging two the House’s and the Senate’s two different reform package, so that each chamber can pass the same bill. That merging process kicked of behind the scenes weeks ago, but will begin in earnest in the days ahead, and could last several weeks. We’ll keep you abreast of all developments. (more…)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From WaPo:

Vice President Biden presided over the 60-39, party-line vote, which brings Democrats closer than ever to realizing their 70-year-old goal of universal health coverage.

For the first time, most Americans would be required to obtain health insurance, either through their employer or via new, government-regulated exchanges. Those who can’t afford insurance plans would receive federal subsidies. And Medicaid would be vastly expanded to reach millions of low-income children and adults.

Vice President Biden presided over the 60-39, party-line vote, which brings Democrats closer than ever to realizing their 70-year-old goal of universal health coverage.

For the first time, most Americans would be required to obtain health insurance, either through their employer or via new, government-regulated exchanges. Those who can’t afford insurance plans would receive federal subsidies. And Medicaid would be vastly expanded to reach millions of low-income children and adults.