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Bench Memos

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Congressional Hearings on Shelby County v. Holder



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The Senate and House are each holding hearings this week to consider this question: “What is to be done in light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down the coverage formula for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act?” The correct answer is simple:  Nothing.

There is no state in 2013 whose practices are so racist – such as Mississippi’s in 1965 – that it can be entrusted to run its own elections only if Eric Holder is supervising them. And the rest of the Voting Rights Act is alive and well and available to address any discrimination that needs to be addressed. There is, in sum, simply no need for additional, pro-active legislation to address actual disparate treatment on the basis of race – as opposed to a failure to gerrymander racially segregated districts for this or that racial or ethnic minority (the principal use to which Section 5 was put before being struck down), or a mere disproportionate racial effect from, for example, an anti-fraud voter-identification law (which seems to be the principal Democratic complaint these days).

The unassailability of the above points will, I have no doubt, be brilliantly demonstrated by Michael Carvin (who will be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday) and NRO’s own Hans von Spakovsky (who will be testifying before the House on Thursday)



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