Tag Archives: voting rights act

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.

News Update – Supreme Court, Aaron Hernandez and more

supreme court (2)

Let’s be clear, the Supreme Court of the United States is still led by conservatives. The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court also struck down California’s Proposition 8. Basically, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision. Let’s be clear. The Supreme Court did not step out on a limb and boldly go where no man has gone before. As a matter fact, they wimped out. The Supreme Court had an opportunity to tell gay and lesbian Americans that they had the exact same rights as any and all other Americans – to marry anyone whom they love. That is not what the Supreme Court did. Instead, the Supreme Court made what in my opinion was a very narrow ruling. The question still remains about whether gay marriage is legal throughout the land and the answer has to be no. If you happen to live in the correct state, gay marriage is okay in that state. I’m sorry, but I understand that there are lots of people who are very happy, but I continue to be disappointed by the closed-minded cowardice of what is supposed to be the greatest court in the land.

Wendy Davis is awesome!!!

Yesterday, I talked about the New England Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez. Today, Mr. Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. 90 minutes after his arraignment, the New England Patriots released Aaron Hernandez. He is on his own.

I would like to point everyone to Linda Greenhouse’s article in the New York Times. In my opinion, Linda Greenhouse was the best legal reporter in the country when she retired couple years ago. The article:

“While any racial discrimination in voting is too much,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. told us in Tuesday’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, “Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

Well, here’s a current condition: the ink was barely dry on the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder when Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas announced that his state’s voter-ID law, blocked by a federal court last summer, “will take effect immediately.”

The Texas statute has the most stringent requirements of any voter-ID law in the country. The three-judge federal panel, pointing out in a 56-page opinion the several less onerous versions that the Legislature had rejected, found that the state had failed to meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to show that the law wouldn’t have the effect of suppressing the minority vote.

With his precipitous in-your-face move, the Texas attorney general may be doing us a favor, making clear that the court’s decision has real and immediate consequences. Welcome to the Roberts court’s brave new post-Voting Rights Act world.

Roger Federer gets bounced out of the second round of Wimbledon. Maria Sharapova is also out.

Monday Morning News Roundup

Monday Morning News Roundup

White House

The White House has decided to really and truly go after those who were standing in the way of a budget deal. The White House has released a breakdown of how the sequester will hurt states on a state-by-state basis.

It appears that a White House official has visited North Korea. I like the idea of talking with both our friends and our enemies.

Some Republicans simply cannot let vaginal ultrasounds go.

The father of a victim of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre sent his senators a letter. Both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake received letters that supported gun control. One would figure that they would get a letter written by a staffer and signed by the senator. If you thought that, you’d wrong. Tom Teves received a form letter. I remember years ago, when President Clinton was attempting healthcare reform, I sent a letter to the White House. I got a form letter back. Welcome to Washington. We really should expect and get more from our representatives.

Civil rights leader and representative of his district in Georgia John Lewis has written an op-ed in the Washington Post. The Voting Rights Act should stand. This op-ed is well worth the read.

It is kind of ironic that both Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson make their homes in Chicago. One family has risen to unprecedented political power for a Black man. The other family was held in high regard in the Black community. Both Jesse Jackson and his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., have truly fallen far from grace. Continue reading Monday Morning News Roundup