Marcia Fudge Voting
Rights Decision is Disappointing
June 25, 2013
A number of Democratic lawmakers, several of them members of the
Congressional Black Caucus, say they are disappointed by a U.S. Supreme
Court decision that invalidates one section of the landmark Voting
Rights Act. The Supreme Court said that it is up to Congress to update a
provision that sets the formula for which states and localities must
make changes in voting procedures.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, gathered to
tell reporters that they are saddened by Tuesday's Supreme Court
decision. The high court said one section of the law relies on
40-year-old data that does not reflect current realities. Congressman
John Lewis, a civil rights icon who was brutally beaten during a march
for voting rights in 1965, says voting rights protections are still very
much needed today.
"Today the Supreme Court stuck a dagger in the heart of the Voting
Rights Act of 1965," said Lewis. "They are saying in effect that history
cannot repeat itself, but I say, 'come and walk in my shoes.'"
Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge pointed out that there were 22 new
laws proposed in 2012 to restrict voting rights. Some of them involved
requiring voters to show photo identification. She said she believes the
provision calling for some states to be closely monitored should be
expanded, not struck down.
Reaction from those who may support the Supreme Court decision was muted
and cautious. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he
had not yet had a chance to read the Supreme Court majority opinion.
"But I would say I do think America is very different today from what it
was in the 1960's," said McConnell.
Congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana said he believes the ruling is an
affirmation of the great strides the United States has made as a nation.
The Supreme Court said it is now up to Congress to update the formula
for pre-clearance for changes to voting rights laws. Democratic
Congresswoman Judy Chu of California called on members of Congress to
come together to do the right thing.
"I urge every member of Congress, regardless of party, to join us in
ensuring that the Voting Rights Act remains the pillar of democracy that
it has been since its inception," said Chu.
Some analysts expressed skepticism that in particular the Republican-led
House of Representatives, which last week was not able to approve the
normally routinely-passed Farm Bill, will be able to take bipartisan
action on redrafting the Voting Rights provision.