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Southern Repubs Stall Vote on Renewal of Voting Rights Act

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posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 08:12 PM
Here is the story from the NYT:

WASHINGTON, June 20 — House Republican leaders today abruptly canceled a planned vote to renew the Voting Rights Act after a rank-and-file rebellion by lawmakers who say the civil rights measure unfairly singles out Southern states and promotes multi-lingual ballots.

The reversal represented a significant embarrassment for the party leadership, which has promised a vote on the landmark anti-discrimination law and hailed its imminent approval in a rare bipartisan press event on the steps of the Capitol last month...

"A lot of it looks as if these are some old boys from the South who are trying to do away with it," said Representative Lynn A. Westmoreland of Georgia, who said it would be unfair to keep Georgia under the confines of the law when his state has cleaned up its voting rights record. "But these old boys are trying to make it Constitutional enough that it will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court."

Will those "good old boys from the South" get funded well enough to make the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a debatable issue?

I'm a little reluctant to state my own opinion for fear that I'm over-reacting.
*freaking out*
Somebody please tell me I'm over-reacting.

As a black American, this is one of my greatest fears come true. Will my status as a full-fledged American citizen be decided on FoxNews in a barrage of Republican talking points?

I need a debunker. Somebody please reassure me.

[edit on 21-6-2006 by HarlemHottie]

posted on Jun, 22 2006 @ 06:16 PM
After reading about it more, it frustrates me that some politicians from the South are not letting "sleeping dogs lie".

However, it does not surprise me that the Texas-Georgia contingent of the GOP is making such a fuss about this. Does it ever cross their mind it is their states (not to mention a few others in the deep South) that were the perpetrators of disenfranchising the rights of people of color? That is why the stipulations are there. And judging from what happened in Florida and Ohio, enforcement of the Voters Right Act still needs to be done.

I tend to think that this is a mean-spirited attempt on their parts in order to prepare for the Novemember 2006 elections. They are crying foul because the public knows about Diebold (a secretive attempt at voting disenfranchisement) and the problems that happened in Florida in the 2000 election. Say what you must about the abuses "not existing" since the 2000 elections, but it is hard to miss a contingent of Black Congresspeople going in front of the House asking for the signature of one Senator to enable a recount of the vote and an investigation of the processes involved in the Presidental race.

Another question ot ask is whether it even occurred to them that it took an executive order from a President (Lyndon Baines Johnson) to enable these changes to be made?

The problem of the refusal to vote on the renewal of the Act centers on these points:

1) States' Rights vs. Federal Rights.

Ironically, this is the same problem that occurred during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Not to mention the Civil Rights Era. And now, whenever there seems to be Civil Rights involved, the "good old boys" invoke this same clause in order to "take back" civil liberties from people of color.
And if they let the renewal slide, that effectively means that the States can run a political machine more to their liking in which they do not have to be caught in violation of deterring a segment of the population from voting in order to get a specific official in office.

Like my Great Uncle says, that even after the Civil War, the Confederate Government never died. It is still there waiting for the right time to spring up and make their presence known.

2)Yet another Example of Constitutional violations

If it were enough for the 14th and 15th Amendments to be taken as law, we would not need the Voters Rights Act of 1965. However, I can attest from the experiences of my own family, that people in the deep South have had to put up with these obstructions of their constitutional rights for time and eternity until it was enforced federally. And a return to such a time would not only cause more civil unrest, but also further divide this nation in ways that have yet to be seen.

What is worse, with the Supreme Court turning far right, the ability to appeal these cases of disenfranchisement will be exceptionally harder. Frustratingly enough, when people do try to file suit they won't be taken seriously because States rights will take precedence. And sometimes, the rights of the States when it comes to issues of civil liberties cannot supercede the rights of the Federal Office especially when this issue of freely giving our say in government affects us all.

However, until there is an outcry from the public about this issue, I'm afraid that this is going to slip under the radar. For those who have lived through the time of voting disenfranchisement and segregation, they will have to speak out so that their descendants do not have to deal with the prejudices of a contigent of politicians from the South who want to turn back the clock and have things return to the "way it was".

After all, if the law does change back--it doesn't affect them really. But they are truly forgetting that their actions do affect a whole number of people. And because of that, they are serving their own selfish interests--not to mention the refusal of providing "equal representation" under the law.

[edit on 22-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 22 2006 @ 10:37 PM
I am truly amazed at the total lack of response this thread has received.

Thank you, Ceci, for saying something.

I really do try to only think the best of other people, but two facts are quickly changing my mind.

1. The fact that the friggin Voting Rights Act is about to be used as a political football in this farce we call the current American political system.

2. The fact that nobody else seems to care.

If it affected you, would you care?

posted on Jun, 23 2006 @ 06:33 PM
So they are what, trying to get rid of Democrat votes by making it illegal for blacks to vote, again?

No wonder minority's hate republicans, right now they are trying to take their right to vote away for being black.

posted on Jun, 23 2006 @ 06:47 PM

As a black American, this is one of my greatest fears come true.

I thought that the protections against what the act was supposed to address had been made permanent through executive order?

posted on Jun, 23 2006 @ 09:47 PM

Originally posted by Nygdan

As a black American, this is one of my greatest fears come true.

I thought that the protections against what the act was supposed to address had been made permanent through executive order?

You may know something I don't. Which executive order? Or, more generally, which president?

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 12:30 AM

Originally quoted by Nygdan
I thought that the protections against what the act was supposed to address had been made permanent through executive order?

The point of contention that the Texas-Georgia contingent of GOP members are arguing about is the amendments to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is the renewal of those amendments that is the problem here--especially when it has to do with the enforcement of the 15th Amendment.

An article by Richard M. Valelly explains this more in depth:

Ballots in the Balance
Forty years ago—in a dramatic response to decades of African American struggle in the courts and the streets and to growing public concern over black disenfranchisement—a large bipartisan majority in Congress framed and passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. President Lyndon Johnson proudly signed it in a special Capitol Hill ceremony. These officials, much of the public, and key partners such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Congress on Racial Equality all intended a restoration of the Reconstruction Amendments, particularly the 14th and 15th Amendments. In that they succeeded. Since 1965 the federal protection afforded by the Voting Rights Act has immeasurably strengthened minority voting and representation. The Voting Rights Act is today widely recognized as perhaps the premier case of a national law that can institute broad and desirable political change.

But will the Voting Rights Act survive its next congressional review? Should it? These questions now animate a growing number of conferences and discussions at law schools and universities around the country. Opponents and supporters of the Voting Rights Act are now meeting and planning for the congressional review. Voting rights issues now flying below the public radar are certain to surface on the national agenda this year or next.

By August 2007 Congress must renew, amend, or drop the Voting Rights Act's temporary enforcement provisions. These measures include (1) federal review of proposed election changes in Southern and some non-Southern states and counties (a process technically known as "Section 5 preclearance"), (2) the federal election observer program, and (3) the requirement—added ten years after Congress first passed the law—that many non-Southern jurisdictions, including Arizona, California, and Texas, provide bilingual balloting materials and assistance.

It is in those three areas quoted above that is in the midst of the dispute by the Republican Representatives. They stubbornly refused to vote on the measure because they are taking the position of "States Rights" in their arguement in order to explain that their states are being unfairly targeted by the law. With that being said, this would mean that the Voting Rights Act will not be enforced to ensure that people of color have "equal representation" under the law in government. The Republicans, at present, do not have a Black person representing any district in Congress in their party. As far as I know, J.C. Watts (from Oklahoma) was the last.

Originally quoted by HarlemHottie
You may know something I don't. Which executive order? Or, more generally, which president?

Firstly, I would like to thank you, Harlem Hottie, for your comments above. I do care about this issue because I am intimately knowledgable about the effects of voter disenfranchisement from my family. My mother, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, had to pay poll taxes in the deep South until 1965. Other relatives of mine tell stories of their harrassment in regards to voting in their small Southern towns before and after this act was passed. My aunt and uncle, as mentioned in yet another thread, campaigned for the right to vote in the deep South. They, as well as, others in my family and friends--had to face the vicissitudes of the police and the townspeople while they protested.

The answer to your questions is this: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after it was passed by both houses of Congress. I believe there was an Executive Order involved, but I have to find more information about it later.

You can read the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in its entirety by clicking on the link.

You can also hear what President Johnson and Civil Rights leaders during the time said on C-SPAN.

I will try to post even more information later about why the Voting Rights Act is important, but I have an exerpt from the CORE website for your perusal:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965
In the century following Reconstruction, African Americans in the South faced overwhelming obstacles to voting. Despite the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which had enfranchised black men and women, southern voter registration boards used poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic impediments to deny African Americans their legal rights. Southern blacks also risked harassment, intimidation, economic reprisals, and physical violence when they tried to register or vote. As a result, African Americans had little if any political power, either locally or nationally. In Mississippi, for instance, only five percent of eligible blacks were registered to vote in 1960.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, meant to reverse this disenfranchisement, grew out of both public protest and private political negotiation. [...]President Lyndon B. Johnson made civil rights one of his administration's top priorities, using his formidable political skills to pass the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, which outlawed poll taxes, in 1964. Now, a week after "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Johnson gave a televised speech before Congress in which he denounced the assault.

Two days later, the President sent the Voting Rights bill to Congress. The resolution, signed into law on August 6, 1965, empowered the federal government to oversee voter registration and elections in counties that had used tests to determine voter eligibility or where registration or turnout had been less than 50 percent in the 1964 presidential election. It also banned discriminatory literacy tests and expanded voting rights for non-English speaking Americans.

I hope this helps. More information, legally based, will be on the way for your and everyone else's perusal.

[edit on 24-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 01:32 AM
I think its extremely unlikely that anyone in power is actually going to try to legally revoke the rights of blacks to vote. If nothing else, they'll have a revolution to content with, and a well justified one.

It looks like the contention are things like bilingual ballots, not trying to stop blacks from voting.

Moving on from the motivation here.
Congress renewed in 1982 the special provisions of the Act, triggered by coverage under Section 4 for twenty-five years.

Its not the Act itself that is expiring, its the "special provisions" of Section 4.
Section 4(a) of the Act established a formula to identify those areas [where racial discrimination in voting had been more prevalent] and to provide for more stringent remedies where appropriate. [...]

Section 4(e) and Section 4(f), that guarantee the right to register and vote to those with limited English proficiency. Section 4(e) provides that the right to register and vote may not be denied to those individuals who have completed the sixth grade in a public school, such as those in Puerto Rico, where the predominant classroom language is a language other than English[...]In Section 4(f), the Act addresses the ability of those persons who are members of language minority groups identified in Section 4(f)(2), to register and vote as well as to get information relating to the electoral process in a manner that will ensure their meaningful participation in the electoral process

I have to say that its difficult to argue that spanish ballots shouldn't be supplied, given that we permit and maintain spanish language education in Porto Rico, as the act notes. Framed like that, you really do have to permit it.

ALso of note
Section 4, along with those other sections that are dependent upon it, such as Section 5, 6, and 8, will expire on August 6, 2007.

Alright, so on to section 5

Section 5 freezes election practices or procedures in certain states until the new procedures have been subjected to review, either after an administrative review by the United States Attorney General, or after a lawsuit before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. This means that voting changes in covered jurisdictions may not be used until that review has been obtained.

Hmm, I have to say, this seems more worrying (in so far as a more likely motivation) than the disenfranchisement of one section of the population. If I understand correctly, a person could prevent an election from being frozen while there is an investigation, IE, force the results to go through?

Notice it only applies to certain states (listed here.

Here is how that page also explains the expiration matter, which seems to be different from the above, perhaps I have misunderstood
The Voting Rights Act is a permanent federal law. Moreover, the equal right to vote regardless of race or color is protected by the Fifteenth Amendment [...] Voting rights will not expire[...]the preclearance requirement of Section 5, the authority to use federal examiners and observers, and some of the statute's language minority requirements [require renewal]

A complex issue, to be sure. The intent of the law was to use it to enforce the provisions of the consitution, which the states were loopholeing around. I am not so sure that if the law was, hypothetically, removed entirely (which isn't what is being considered), that the states wouldn't, over time, revert back to the old ways, so that law seems well justified.

If the main issue of dispute is bilingual doesn't seem that there is any justification for removing that. An American citizen is not obligated to learn any language in particular. A citizen educated in public schools in Porto Rico in Spanish, can not be expected to learn english in order to properly vote if they should move to Miami or New York.

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 03:29 AM

That is also fair. However, I think that there is more than just Section 5 that the GOP members have contention with. Especially when it has to do with the Federal Election Observation program. After all, who will be there to ensure that things are fair at the polling booth if the provision expires?

What you suggested does shed new light on the matter. Thanks for outlining the sections of the Voting Rights Act. It helps to see what each section says verbatim.

You are right in the fact that voting rights do not expire. However, it has to do with the enforcement of those voting rights that might seem disturbing. And because these GOP members from Southern states refuse to consider renewing the Voting Rights Act at a time before the mid-term elections, it also brings more unsettling questions to the surface. It is as if Diebold was not enough.

That is why this entire issue set forth by the GOP is quite troubling in its context.

And remember, not all Amendments stay forever in the Constitution. Although I think that no Congressmember would ever go that far to eliminate the Amendments concerning voting rights, it behooves one to think of what happened with the Prohibition Amendment.

So, never say never.

But, like I said before, I will continue to dig for more information to help with this. After all, I do not profess to have all the answers. However, I will help in rooting them out so we can discuss them here.

[edit on 24-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 04:11 AM
As I was going through my reading of the news online, I came across this article by Cassandra Butts in the American Progress. She writes in 2005 of some the reasons that might shed light why it is important to consider renewing the amendments of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

Celebrating and Strengthening the Voting Rights Act

If Congress doesn’t act to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act by August 6, 2007, key provisions of the law will expire. These include: Section 5, the pre-clearance provision, which has been the heart of the law, and which bars practices that have the effect of denying the right to vote in covered geographical areas and requires all proposed changes to the voting or election procedures to be “pre-cleared” with either the Department of Justice or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Section 203, the language provisions, which requires bilingual language assistance for covered language minorities; and Sections 6 and 9, which give the attorney general the authority to send federal observers and appoint examiners to monitor elections.

While some have already begun to argue that there is no longer a need to extend the expiring provisions, particularly Section 5, one need only review the most recent litigation surrounding state compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the complaints of voter intimidation coupled with political maneuvering and misdirection in communities of color in the past two presidential elections to make a compelling case that the protections provided in the expiring provisions of the VRA are still very much needed. We’ve come a long way since 1965 and attitudes have changed substantially, but now is not the time to turn our backs on the protections that have brought us this far.

Just some more things to think about while debating this issue.

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 04:20 PM
Just to re-iterate, which is worthwhile because this is an important issue, I do not see any reason to not re-new the expiring provisions. I don't think that the congressmen that are debating whether or not to renew it are trying to disenfranchise minorities either.

posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 09:02 PM
It seems that our friend across the pond, Greg Palast, who first brought us the dirt behind the election debacle of 2000, has a take on this issue:

Complaints by a couple of good ol' boys to legislation have never stopped the GOP leadership from rolling over dissenters.

This is a strategic stall that is meant to decriminalise the Republican party's new game of challenging voters of colour by the hundreds of thousands.

In the 2004 presidential race, the GOP ran a massive, multi-state, multimillion-dollar operation to challenge the legitimacy of black, Hispanic and Native American voters. The methods used breached the Voting Rights Act, and while the Bush administration's civil rights division grinned and looked the other way, civil rights lawyers began circling, preparing to sue to stop the violations of the act before the 2008 race.

So Republicans have promised to no longer break the law - not by going legit but by eliminating the law.

Honestly, based on what I know of the Rovian technique, this sounds plausible. By stating publically that their concerns lie with the multilingual ballots ammendment, the people framing this argument would have us debate the minutiae when, in fact, the scheme is to distract us. A Look at the pretty explosions while we loot your museums kinda thing.

The plan is really much more insidious. While we debate the merits of a multilingual electoral process, in a lofty, detached, academic sort of way, they're already planning to steal my vote!

I'm officially pissed. My mom was raised in NY, so I didn't get many first-hand accounts of pre-1965 era institutional racism, but I certainly don't want any of my own.

posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 11:14 PM

Originally quoted by Ngydan
Just to re-iterate, which is worthwhile because this is an important issue, I do not see any reason to not re-new the expiring provisions. I don't think that the congressmen that are debating whether or not to renew it are trying to disenfranchise minorities either.


All I can say is that conventional wisdom might lend itself to the government not targeting voters of color simply because it might seem "uncouth" during this day and age. But, don't let this latest move fool you. The GOP has a known track record of targeting voters of color in the 2000 and 2004 elections. And they will probably do so again in the mid-term elections.

And yes, I believe you are correct. But I also tend to think this move by some members of the GOP is not as simple as the renewal. They have reasons they are going after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and they are not being entirely altruistic about it.

I'm sure in the end they will probably renew it. But the road paved toward renewal is going to be pretty bumpy.

Originally quoted by HarlemHottie

Honestly, based on what I know of the Rovian technique, this sounds plausible. By stating publically that their concerns lie with the multilingual ballots ammendment, the people framing this argument would have us debate the minutiae when, in fact, the scheme is to distract us. A Look at the pretty explosions while we loot your museums kinda thing.

The plan is really much more insidious. While we debate the merits of a multilingual electoral process, in a lofty, detached, academic sort of way, they're already planning to steal my vote!

I also read Greg Palast's article. I have had a habit of reading his work since his book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. And this latest article he wrote not only makes me incensed, it worries me that the Republicans are truly playing games with our voting rights to the point of eliminating the very law that they seem to break in the most recent elections.

It is insidious, when you think about it. And it is right out of Karl Rove's playbook. In the past, I have said that Mr. Rove should have been imprisoned a long time ago, but judging from Mr. Fitzgerald's lack of charges on the man--I should have known better. The hand of Mr. Rove is all over this one because this is no different from the dirty tactics he learned from Lee Atwater.

Sadly, I think the multi-lingual issue is debatable and much more timely because of the attention paid to illegal immigration. And while Americans are in a stir about what to do about undocumented workers, the very tenets of enforcement are quietly being eliminated.

Yes, academically, it is a plan that you can discuss and see all the parameters. But in the end when it hits close to home, you have to ask, where's the outcry?

I'm officially pissed. My mom was raised in NY, so I didn't get many first-hand accounts of pre-1965 era institutional racism, but I certainly don't want any of my own.

I'm with you here. I've grown up with the first hand accounts from older folk in my family, so I know how much not considering the enforcement of the law will hurt people. The GOP, imho, doesn't want to get caught while using their dirty tactics. And as a result, who else would they incite in order to get their point across? Southern politicians who truly embrace States' Rights over Federal Rights. And who will the Southern politicians target? The people most vunerable to the changes afforded to States Rights. They know all too well that there isn't enough representation of color within Congress. And eliminating what little representation there is left, (if not by Tom DeLay's "redistricting" of key states) then effectively there will be a portion of American society without any voice at all.

Btw, I am still looking for other resources on this matter. So, I will post some other commentary or legal news about this soon.

[edit on 26-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 11:26 PM
This might help shed some more light on this entire topic:

Dispelling Myths About the Voting Rights Act

By 2007, Congress will vote on whether to extend these "special provisions" of the Voting Rights Act. Since the effects of the long history of voting discrimination persist, the "special provisions" of the Voting Rights Act continue to be extremely important tools for protecting minority voting rights. During the reauthorization process, Congress will compile a record that sets forth the continuing effects of the nation's widespread voting discrimination.

Congressman Artur Davis (D.-Ala) writes in The Hill about why the stalling tactics of the GOP are detrimental to the voting process. The entire Op/Ed is rather fascinating, but I've outlined some parts that need to be considered in our debate about the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

Voting Rights Act is still needed to build on progress

What has slowed the momentum of reauthorization has been a calculated effort to suggest either that the act has outlived its usefulness or, alternatively, that it stigmatizes the South with regulations that don’t apply to the rest of the country (there are several Northern states, including New York and Illinois, that have partial coverage under the act, but opponents tend to overlook that fact). Both these claims are factually and legally dubious.
The act is a remedial statute whose authority derives from Congress’s determining that certain parts of our country have a history of discriminatory election laws. Just as a court could not impose an injunction on every widget manufacturer in America because some widget manufacturers have acted illegally, Congress cannot enact remedies for states without a demonstrated pattern of wrongdoing.In fact, if Congress were to extend blanket coverage of the act beyond existing states, it could be struck down as unconstitutional.
Progress also does not mean that laws should be discarded. Should the diminution of racist attitudes and the integration of the work force mean that Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act should be abandoned? Should the fact that 90 percent of Americans tell pollsters that they would elect a female president mean that sex-discrimination laws are unnecessary? It would be a powerful statement in a divided political environment if both parties endorsed the principle that the meaningful protection of voting power is an essential feature of our legal structure. Conversely, a retreat from the act, even one wrapped in niceties, would be instantly demoralizing to black and white Americans who have valued the act as a cornerstone of a regional and national consensus.

More is on the way.

[edit on 26-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 01:13 AM

Originally posted by ceci2006
Conversely, a retreat from the act, even one wrapped in niceties, would be instantly demoralizing to black and white Americans who have valued the act as a cornerstone of a regional and national consensus.

Exactly how I'm feeling. He hit it right on the nose.

I'm very demoralized.

And, don't you find the timing of this drama and the Miami 7 very suspicious? I can hear the talking point already. Why should we protect African-Americans at the polls? Look at how they repay us, by becoming terrorists!

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 01:30 AM

Originally quoted by HarlemHottie

I'm very demoralized.

And, don't you find the timing of this drama and the Miami 7 very suspicious? I can hear the talking point already. Why should we protect African-Americans at the polls? Look at how they repay us, by becoming terrorists!

Don't feel demoralized. Demoralization will descend into apathy. Better yet, be thankful that you are aware this is happening. I am. And even though the news of what the GOP Southerners did makes me angry, I find that this is a time to not only discuss the issue here, but in the "real world". So, be proud that you started this thread. It shows that you care about this topic and want others to know about it.

And yes, I do find the timing pretty suspicious, but not only because of what you said. I also find it pretty interesting that they brought the Miami 7 in right at the time an uproar about civil liberties is hitting a head in Congress. But it's no mistake that they have to drag people of color in to prove their point about how "America" is in danger.

It provides a pretty nice blanket over what is going on with the Voting Rights Act, no?

[edit on 26-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 02:36 AM
As I was going on my usual reading of news again late at night, I came up with some pretty disturbing news--even though it was written at the time when Chief Justice John Roberts was being nominated and scrutinized by the Senate.

From a 2005 article by the Washington Post, the authors describe Chief Justice Roberts' past efforts of trying to narrow the Voting Rights Act (If any other people have more info on this, please post it or tell us about it).

But, this article is also helpful to see what might be considered as Justice Roberts' view of Civil Rights in general:

A Charter Member of Reagan Vanguard

A review of Roberts's papers from his time at the Justice Department and interviews with his contemporaries show he was deeply involved with the Reagan administration's efforts to recast the way government and the courts approached civil rights.

He wrote vigorous defenses, for example, of the administration's version of a voting rights bill, opposed by Congress, that would have narrowed the reach of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He challenged arguments by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in favor of busing and affirmative action. He described a Supreme Court decision broadening the rights of individuals to sue states for civil rights violations as causing "damage" to administration policies, and he urged that legislation be drafted to reverse it. And he wrote a memo arguing that it was constitutionally acceptable for Congress to strip the Supreme Court of its ability to hear broad classes of civil rights cases.
Other memos by Roberts similarly argued for reining in the federal government's role in civil rights disputes. They indicate, for example, that he was at the center of articulating and defending the administration's policy that the Voting Rights Act -- a seminal law passed in 1965 and up for renewal in 1982 -- should in the future bar only voting rules that discriminate intentionally, rather than those that were shown to have a discriminatory effect. After the House rejected administration concerns and passed a bill embracing the more broad "effects" standard in October 1981 by a vote of 389 to 24, Roberts wrote in a memo to Smith, "my own view is that something must be done to educate the Senators on the seriousness of this problem." He argued in a memo to Starr that the House bill made sense only if "our laws were concerned with achieving equal results rather than equal opportunity."

My, quite fascinating. Something for people to think about when approaching this debate.

Btw, still searching for articles and of course, the Executive Order too.

[edit on 26-6-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Jun, 29 2006 @ 02:30 AM
Harlem Hottie,

You are right in proposing that there is a movement to concentrate more on the linguistic issues concerning the VRA rather than other proposals up for renewal.

Today on C-SPAN, the House argued the Stearns Amendment--demonstrated as a move to gut the VRA through having ballots and other governmental paraphenalia printed in English. Both sides of the aisle argued deftly about this proposal as the article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says:

House backs right to non-English ballots

The House agreed Wednesday to affirm the right of voters in areas with large populations of non-English-speaking citizens to cast ballots in their native language.

The 254-167 roll call in support of bilingual balloting came just a week after GOP divisions over the issue contributed to the postponement of a House vote to renew the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

"If you have the good fortune to be able to vote in the United States, then it is not too much to ask that this be accomplished in English," said Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla. "I don't think the United States government should be forced to pay for (bilingual) assistance."

There's an example of "political football" for you. Luckily, the House voted this measure down.

posted on Jun, 30 2006 @ 06:09 AM
And now, before we know it, voting on the act is "slowed down" because Congressional Hearings are being called to reexamine it. Stinks to high heaven if you ask me.

Here's the story out of the Associated Press:

Republicans slow Voting Rights Act renewal

By Amanda Beck Thu Jun 29, 7:01 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prospects for a swift renewal of the Voting Rights Act faded on Thursday as lawmakers called for new congressional hearings on the landmark civil rights law first approved in 1965.

The House leadership had expected an easy 25-year extension of the act last week but southern Republicans rebelled, objecting that their states would be subjected to special scrutiny based on the legacy of discrimination from the 1960s.

The House voted the Stearns Amendment down last night; now the Republicans want to punish that act by slowing the vote down on the VRA. Go figure.

posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 03:38 AM
Hey guys, I've got new news on the VRA. Congress is going to consider renewing it now. But it is mainly political. The "dissent" in the Republicans has been "quieted". Gee, I wonder why?

House considers renewing Voting Rights Act

WASHINGTON - Having quieted dissenting conservatives, House Republicans are trying again to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act in an election-year effort to win support from minority voters.

The bill's progress through Congress is considered by Republican leaders as one way to stem the damage to the party's "big-tent" image among minorities watching the contentious debate over whether to grant most of the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.
Hours of negotiations in recent days yielded an agreement, approved 8-3 on Wednesday by the Rules Committee, to allow votes on a few amendments proposing the changes pushed by the objectors.The changes are not expected to be added to the legislation. But House leaders, intent on passing the bill over to the Senate this week, agreed to allow votes on the four amendments to move it along.

Civil rights advocates, however, see the amendments as the latest in a history of attempts to undercut growing political influence of racial minorities.

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