Jan 4, 2013

Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner Maintains Dishonesty on Voting Rights Act

Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner;
murdered in 1964 for fighting for voting rights 
Update II: Rep. Sensenbrenner has finally spoken on the attempts of his party to strike down the Voting Rights Act. Critically, Sensenbrenner notes the social scientific evidence complied by Congress when it passed the reauthorization in 2006. Sensenbrenner joined a bi-partisan group of judiciary committee members filing an amicus brief in Shelby County v. Holder (docket 12-96).

Writes Sensenbrenner: “The Voting Rights Act is the crown jewel of civil rights laws. It protects our most fundamental right—the right to vote. This law has empowered minorities to participate in the election process, but the threat of discrimination is not yet extinct.  In 2006, the House compiled 12,000 pages of extensive testimony. This record shows Section 5 not only worked to correct past injustices, but is unmistakably central to the continued protection of minorities’ right to vote in covered districts. I am proud of this law, and join my colleagues in ardently defending its constitutionality.”

Update: Worth a read from July 2012, Voter ID forces attack voting rights.

As the GOP challenge to the Voting Rights Act (VRA) makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, don't look for Republicans, Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner, or any Republican legislator who voted for VRA reauthorization in 2006 to file an amicus brief arguing the Court uphold this pillar of civil rights protection.

Republicans and its Tea Party can read the writing on the wall: Stop Americans from voting or lose elections, and the VRA is in the way.

Desperate state gerrymandering and voter obstructions laws will buy the Republicans some time, so the corrupt Five on the U.S. Supreme Court will make an effort to disappear the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Section Five and likely targeting Section Two, maybe the whole act.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear a challenge to a main provision, the "pre-clearance" or Section Five, of the Voting Rights Act in February.

Rick Hasen at the Election Law blog has a piece on the GOP challenge to the Voting Rights Act (VRA) noting Texas Republicans in their amicus brief omitted mention that Texas has been found by a federal court to have engaged in "purposeful discrimination" to stop non-desirable Americans from voting, and purposeful attempts to diminish the votes of such non-desirable Americans.

Maybe the state of Texas just forgot.

Speaking of forgetfulness, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner who likes to pretend that he is a champion of the Voting Rights Act—voting for the 2006 renewal of the Voting Rights Act—seems to have forgotten as well the purpose behind stopping states from obstructing voting.

The VRA and its reauthorizations were passed to stop state voter obstruction efforts, mainly in the southern U.S., and especially aimed at southern state white power structures that turned even more murderous in the 1950s and 60s. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and many more gave their lives to the civil rights effort.

But voter obstruction and fighting voting rights are a national Republican project now.

In Sensenbrenner's own words, he writes last July that the VRA is "the civil rights law [that] sought to end decades of racial discrimination that prevented minorities from fully exercising their constitutional right to vote.

Asked in April last year why Sensenbrenner didn't speak out against the current efforts of states [like Wisconsin] enacting voter obstruction laws, Sensenbrenner's office's response is:

"I don’t have a comment for you on this, as it is a state law. But you are correct in pointing out that he was responsible for getting the VRA reauthorization passed through Congress in 2006 when he was Chair of the House Judiciary Committee."

What are these people thinking? The VRA stops states and their voter obstruction laws. So, you cannot speak to state law because they are state laws? Sensenbrenner-GOP logic.

So, Sensenbrenner claims he loves the VRA, but now he toes the GOP line on state Republican voter obstruction efforts, calling them "common-sense efforts to ensure the identity and citizenship of voters," (July 2012) words written after his office said he cannot comment on state laws from which the VRA protects Americans' right to vote.

Sensenbrenner is what constitutional law experts refer to as a shameless, goddamn liar.

As the VRA makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, don't look for Sensenbrenner to file an amicus brief arguing the Court upholds this pillar of civil rights legalisation that Sensenbrenner says he champions.

That would be unRepublican.

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