Liberals should not be smarting over the U.S. Supreme Court’s gutting of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday because "their allies in Congress could have fixed this a long time ago," political journalist and Newsmax contributor John Fund says.
"This part of the Voting Rights Act covers states that had a bad voter registration record, a bad voter turnout record among minorities," Fund told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. "They had to get Justice Department approval — even if they wanted to move a polling place by 20 feet. Nothing to do with voting."
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"This became a completely ridiculous standard," he added. "Why in the world should we be frozen like a fly in amber and treated the same way after almost 50 years and there's really no way to escape?"
In a 5-to-4 decision, the justices ruled that Congress had used obsolete reasoning in continuing to force nine states, primarily in the South, to get federal approval for voting rule changes affecting blacks and other minorities.
The court backed officials from Shelby County, Ala., by declaring invalid a section of the law that set a formula that determined which states needed federal approval to change voting laws.
The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to end a century of attempts by former slave-holding states to block blacks from voting.
Fund referenced a 2009 voting rights case, in which the Supreme Court said that "serious constitutional questions" existed as to whether that section of the Voting Rights Act met a current need. The comment left some legal experts with the impression that the court nearly struck down the provision.
"The Supreme Court said: 'We're warning you, Congress. Address this. Update your database. Make sure that some states that no longer are a problem aren't covered,'" Fund told Malzberg. "And they noted that Massachusetts has a bigger racial gap in terms of who votes than Mississippi does today. Congress did nothing, and now the Supreme Court has finally said, 'We warned you.'
"Now, Congress has a choice," Fund opined. "It can either start from scratch and decide certain states should be covered by this pre-clearance — ‘mother may I’ — provision, or we basically acknowledge: ‘We’ve made a lot of racial progress, and they're all kinds of ways people can sue if there's a problem in terms of discriminatory practices. Maybe we should declare victory and go home.'"
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