Apr 25, 2014

Proposed Fix to Voting Rights Act Is Worse than Court-gutted Corpse

James Sensenbrenner exposed as phony
on voting rights by James O'Keefe
. See
three-minute, 19-second mark.
Update: Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a co-sponsor is hoping against hope that Speaker John Boehner will suddenly become amiable to amendments to take out the language of the Voting Rights Act Amendment that makes HR 3899 a steaming pile of very toxic and fetid waste. See this bizarre March 27, 2014 letter by House Democrats including Pocan that in part reads "some of us believe the bill should be enacted in its current form, and some of us prefer to see it amended" in an appeal to John Boehner. This is the same John Boehner who said during the 2012 campaign that he hopes Latinos and Blacks do not show up and vote. (Reeve, August 27, 2012; Yahoo News) at a Christian Science Monitor luncheon.
Five Republicans Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in a case that became instantly infamous: Shelby County v. Holder.

The five-four majority gutted sections four and five of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), destroying one method of the VRA's protecting people's right to vote against hostile state efforts to obstruct and deprive the vote.

As Justice Ginsberg writes in dissent: The majority decided the Voting Rights Act had worked so well the "conditions" (Roberts) of racism are a remnant of long-ago: "Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

John Roberts has for years declared racism is over.

Sensenbrenner has been in negotiations with major civil rights groups and champions of civil rights for months, finally releasing his draft of the Voting Rights Act Amendment, Section Four formula, H. R. 3899 in January, cosponsored by Rep Conyers.

HR 3899 actually enshrines and protects voter obstruction laws such as Wisconsin and Texas' Photo Voter ID laws.

Thankfully, the official statement (January 2014) of the NAACP's Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President and CEO, pissed on HR 3899: "The NAACP appreciates that the U.S. Congress has made a bipartisan effort to update the Voting Rights Act, however we have serious concerns about the ability of some provisions in this bill to protect ALL voters from discrimination at the polls."

As the nation's oldest and largest grassroots civil rights organization we have the responsibility to ensure that any proposed legislation is in the best interest of our members, our community and our country. Participation in our democracy should be unfettered and all votes should be properly counted. From the exceptions for voter ID laws to decreased preclearance coverage to increased reliance on costly litigation, there are essential revisions and amendments to this bill that must take place to ensure ALL voters have fair and equitable access to the ballot box."

Sensenbrenner has called Wisconsin's Voter ID law, Act 23, "common sense," and decried the DoJ effort to challenge Texas under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Sensenbrenner's proposed law's new Section Four formula also protects states with its "five strikes" formula that would allow a state five different Court-determined acts of voting rights discrimination before placing the state under preclearance.

In so many words, Sensenbrenner—with the aid of Rep. Conyers and others who should know better (but apparently do not)—drafted a law that actually codifies voting right violations as fine under the Voting Rights Act as long as the a given state confines obstruction laws to four or less in a 15-year time span.

Sensenbrenner is a voting rights phony, a fake, and liberal writers from Ari Berman to Rick Hasan to Steve Benen have been aiding Sensenbrenner in this enterprise since Shelby last June.

In February in Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-White People) decided his fake support for voting rights perpetuated by a friendly media would take too much a toll on his racist buddies in the GOP.

Sensenbrenner was caught on camera saying, "I hope the president vetoes the bill. If the president vetoes—well, let me rephrase that – if the president vetoes this bill, he will lose an awful lot of the African-American support that he has." (Roth. TRMS) See O'Keefe's video below:

In Wisconsin, we don't call this guy Senselessbrenner for nothing.

And here we don't say: Don't trust Sensenbrenner on voting rights for nothing.

Sensenbrenner is exposed as an utter phony on voting rights (not that more evidence was needed), calculating and disingenuous on the video below (O'Keefe's reading of the Act though mostly factually incorrect is also on his own video) :

So, we cannot trust Sensenbrenner.

Sensenbrenner's Voting Rights Act Amendment legislation is worse than the status quo post-Shelby, aka now, so why are progressives in Congress, major civil rights organizations and progressive writers still behind the Voting Rights Act Amendments and still lauding Sensenbrenner?

For no good reason. Maybe they think they Obama can sign this obscene piece of legislation, call it what Sensenbrenner calls it, and declare victory to Black and Brown folks targeted by the GOP, hoping ethic minorities are as dumb as Sensenbrenner thinks they are.

Anyone advocating support for Sensenbrenner's Voting Rights Act Amendment legislation is taking a position that is untenable.

There is a real Voting Rights initiative: The Pocan-Ellison Right to Vote Amendment to the Constitution "to provide all Americans the affirmative right to vote and empower Congress to protect this right," which of course Sensenbrenner and his Party will not get behind.

What are Democrats and civil rights champions thinking?

They hope against hope that Republicans will change course and get behind voting rights legislation after years of obstructing the vote?

I have an inquiry into these matters into Rep. Mark Pocan's (D-Madison) office, and will include the response in an update.

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