Wall Street Journal on the Bad Voting Bill

by Roger Clegg

The Wall Street Journal has an outstanding editorial today, opposing the Voting Rights Act amendments that have recently been proposed with the ostensible purpose of overturning last year’s perfectly reasonable decision in Shelby County v. Holder, invalidating the preclearance formula of the Act that required some states to get the federal government’s approval before making any changes in local laws related in any way to voting. 

The editorial is subject to the Journal’s intermittent firewall, so here’s a brief summary (also, I wrote my own piece about the bill earlier, here): The Journal notes that “the liberal goal is to give national politicians more power to play racial politics in a few unfavored states”; that the new bill’s scheme to keep some states in federal receivership “fails to take into account broader racial progress in all of those states”; and that the bill’s use of an “effects” test raises constitutional problems and is “an open door to political abuse that is a specialty of this Administration.” All true, as is the editorial’s conclusion: that the Voting Right Act’s current provisions “provide ample federal enforcement when local politicians limit minority rights,” and so the preclearance mechanism does not need to be resurrected.

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