Congress Must Act to Bolster Voting Rights Act

(Huffington Post, Rep Hank Johnson, Georgia 4th District) 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." - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I wish every member of the Supreme Court had the wisdom and insight of Justice Ginsburg. Her message, written one year ago, is clear: Preclearance was working.

We are closer to the goal of equal voting rights, but we are not yet there. Efforts made to restrict the right to vote in the last election prove that we still have a long way to go. The progress we have made proves that the law works and is a reason to keep the Voting Rights Act intact, not a sign that it has become obsolete.

This is especially true here in the South.

During the last renewal of the landmark law in 2007, Congress conducted more than 21 hearings with nearly 100 witnesses and amassed a 15,000-page record documenting the ongoing discrimination against minority voters. Congress voted to renew the law in overwhelming bipartisan majorities: 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate.

But this activist, conservative court struck a dagger in the heart of the law last year. Ruling from the bench Jim Crow-style, the court held 5-4 that the decades-old law used to protect minority voting rights had outlived its usefulness.

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