George Will: Time caught up with the Voting Rights Act

Register
Jul 1, 2013

 “But history did not end in 1965.”

— Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday

Progressives resent progress when it renders anachronistic once-valid reasons for enlarging the federal government’s supervisory and coercive powers.

Hence they regret Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling that progress has rendered Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

This section stipulates the formula by which nine states and some jurisdictions in others are brought under Section 5, which requires them to get federal permission — “preclearance” — for even the most minor changes in voting procedures.

The 15th Amendment empowers Congress to enforce with “appropriate legislation” the right to vote. Sections 4 and 5 were appropriate 48 years ago, when the preclearance provisions were enacted for five years. They have been extended four times, most recently in 2006 for 25 years.   

The VRA is the noblest legislation in American history, more transformative than the 1862 Homestead Act, the 1862 Morrill Act (land-grant colleges) or the 1944 GI Bill of Rights. But extraordinary laws that once were constitutional, in spite of being discordant with the nation’s constitutional architecture, can become unconstitutional when facts that made the law appropriate change. The most recent data, such as registration and voting rates, on which Section 4 is based, are from 1972.

The data would have been 59 years old when the most recent extension would have expired in 2031. Tuesday’s decision prevents this absurdity that Congress embraced.

In 2009, in a case in which the court chose not to rule on the continuing constitutionality of the VRA’s formula, the court — Chief Justice Roberts writing for the majority — clearly challenged Congress to update the VRA because it “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.” On Tuesday, Roberts tersely said Section 4 is “based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”

Comments

Contango

"Texas rushes ahead with voter ID law after supreme court decision":

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/...

Gotta show ID for just about ANYTHING anymore, but the voting requirement is a "burden" for minorities?

Peninsula Pundit

It is tiresome to keep reading from the medium-information experts on many boards who either don't or can't realize that voting is a 'constitutionally-guaranteed right'. As such the bar is placed very high as far as limitations on that right, and rightfully so.
Every voter has to give a name and address when they vote and has to sign that they have voted. A review of this list is the proper way to catch voter fraud. No ID beforehand needed. This is the way things have worked for years. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.
It is a widely-known fact that actual cases of voter fraud are few.
Just because you have to show your ID to move your bowels anymore doesn't necessarily mean that is a GOOD thing.
It sure isn't the kind of Liberty the Founding Fathers envisioned.
I realize this is a unpopular opinion as scared folks do everything they can to try and feel 'secure' these days, but fearless Americans realize that you really can't legislate 'security'.
I'm not a 'minority' BTW.
It appears 'tango's last comment is just pure racist.

Contango

Re: "It sure isn't the kind of Liberty the Founding Fathers envisioned."

Originally only male, white land owners had the right to vote.

Oh how times change.:)

Well, voter ID is the law in TX and other states - go rail against the FACTS.

deertracker

Fact is, I had to show ID to register so why do I need it again to vote? Voter suppression at a Supreme level.

Contango

Re: "why do I need it again to vote?"

'Cuz maybe "you" ain't YOU?

Deal with it.

deertracker

An ID doesn't prove you are you. Ever heard of a fake one? No worries pooh, no one is going to claim to be you!

Contango

Re: "An ID doesn't prove you are you."

And merely claiming to be you is an even MORE valid form of identification?

DERP!

deertracker

You obviously have no clue how voter registration works. Sad!

Contango

DERP!

KnuckleDragger

^^more proof of continued ignorance.

Contango

Re: "more proof of continued ignorance."

IMO, more like mind control. The American Ruling Class tells 'em what to b*tch and moan about and like dutiful bots - they comply.

The bots tend to deal from a point of emotion, not reasoning.

grumpy

Some folks think that things haven't changed in 48 years. They don't like it when they are shown that they are wrong, things change over the years. But then they would have to pull their heads out of the sand to realize that.
50 years ago folks didn't move as often as they do now and usually at least one poll worker would know the voter, now-a-days... not so much. How does anyone know how much voter fraud goes on? If it works who would know?

Contango

Re: "50 years ago folks didn't move as often as they do now,"

Good point.

Most people knew their neighbors and those that worked on election boards were from the neighborhood.

Picked up a prescription for a family member the other day. By Fed law I had to show my ID since it was a controlled substance.

Also, about a yr. ago, I got some antihistamines for my daughter who had a cold.

They used to be on the shelf, but since the tweekers started making meth out of 'em, they're behind the pharmacy counter and I had to show my ID.

Are those acts of health care "suppression"??? :)

deertracker

It's about drugs pooh. Do you ever get anything not on breitbart.com?

Contango

Re: "It's about drugs,"

Why isn't one's word good enough? You seem to prefer it for voting. :)

The fact is DERPY that it's the law - deal with it.

deertracker

You mean why isn't YOUR word good enough!!!!!!! I don't have to deal with it because I don't use those products!

Contango

Re: "I don't use those products!"

Well if you EVER do, be sure to b*tch about your rights being suppressed.

deertracker

It has been proven over and over that very little fraud takes place!

Contango

Re: "very little fraud takes place!"

Sloppy thinking perusal. Define: "very little".

deertracker

Look it up!!!!!!!

Contango

Re: "Look it up!!!!!!!"

YOUR claim, YOUR proof DERPY.

grumpy

If folks don't get caught, in other words are successful at perpetraitng the fraud, how would anyone know that very little fraud takes place? Guessing, hopeful wishing, or what? If you said very little fraud is caught I would grant you that. The rest is speculation.

deertracker

You obviously don't understand the voter registration process either!

grumpy

Just means you have to sign a paper stating you are who you say you are, no proof necessary. Very hard to do. You don't need to produce anything to prove you are who you say you are. Next...

deertracker

Don't know about you but I had to show ID when I registered! Next...................

The Big Dog's back

Show me in the U S Constitution where it says you have to have an ID to vote.

Contango

Re: "Show me in the U S Constitution where it says you have to have an ID to vote."

10th Amendment.

DERP!

The Big Dog's back

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. - See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/...

Derp.

KnuckleDragger

Sure, if you can show me where in the Constitution that I have to show an ID to purchase a firearm to practice my 2nd Amendment rights. Typical lib, pick and choose which parts of the Constitution have validity.

Contango

Re: "ID to purchase a firearm to practice,"

I had to have a FOID card in IL to even OWN a firearm and CCW is not allowed.

http://www.isp.state.il.us/foid/

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