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

deertracker

Just sit on your back porch with your can of chew and Folgers coffee can. Don't forget the wife beater! Get them that varmints!

Contango

Re: "Get them that varmints!"?

Reads like the rant of an illiterate bigot.

KnuckleDragger

Ahh again, more nonsense from the stalker in chief. Your wife must have given you the day off from laundry duty. You would know more about wife beaters than I would, living in Santucky and all.

goofus

Wow, what a racist hate rant from deertracker!!!

deertracker

What is racist and where's the hate? Just a comment. That is what he does!

goofus

Here's a comment blacks are just a tad sIower academicaIIy

goofus

Just ignore the poor white crackers huh you reverse racist

buttermaker

Show me where in the first amendment is says "separation"? But I can show you where in the 15th amendment is says you have to be a citizen to vote.

Contango

Re: "...reserved to the States respectively,"

Good to know that you still can read DERPY. :)

The Big Dog's back

Says nothing in the U S Constitution about voter ID. Thanks pooh for acknowledging that.

buttermaker

Says nothing about disallowing prayer in school, either.

The Big Dog's back

Which religion's prayer should be said in school?

Huron_1969

If the government can't control voter fraud, how do they know it "only happens a little" ?

deertracker

The government can control it, that's why there is very little!

Huron_1969

How do we know it's only a little?
And how much is a little ?
When does a little become a lot ?

deertracker

How do you know it is a problem? Never had an issue as long as yts were getting elected!

Huron_1969

Countless incidents have been proven over the last 20 years, and the trend is increasing
It is a problem that affects everyone and if it isn't dealt with, we will have one more failed government service that will increase the divide between it's citizens

Contango

Re: "It is a problem that affects everyone,"

Other than the 'fun' of it, it's largely a waste of time to attempt to reprogram the Obamabots and their cousins the Progressivebots.

Potentially, look for an update of an older model for 2016: The Hillarybot. :)

Only their Big Govt. liberal programmers have the code which tells them what data to use and how to regurgitate it.

Huron_1969

And the minority have learned how to make so much noise they appear to be the majority. Add in the misinformed and you have a new majority

I'm an independent and vote across party lines.... always looking for the politician with both feet on the ground and a finger on the nations pulse. Thought I'd mention that before the leftist attack my opinion

The Big Dog's back

Whatever.

Contango

Re: "Whatever."

That's "convincing" Big DERP. :)

Contango

@ DERPtracker:

B*tch and complain about voter ID all ya want.

It's the law in TX and other states.

If you don't like it, work to change it.

deertracker

You are the only one bitchin' pooh. I did not need a photo ID WHEN I VOTED FOR Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No issues here!

Contango

Re: "I did not need a photo ID WHEN I VOTED FOR Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So you think that your voting for Pres. Obama had something to do with your not needing to show ID?

It's a states' rights issue DERPtracker.

The Big Dog's back

I don't remember the last time I showed an ID. Just signed my name. More voter suppression from the Rethugs.

Contango

Re: "Just signed my name."

Did you hold the pen in one paw or two Big DERP?

Huron_1969

Don't remember? Hopefully you remember to eat your own dog food

The Big Dog's back

Are you ashamed of being a right wing Repub?

Huron_1969

Can't be ashamed of something I'm not
None the less, if I was, I wouldn't be ashamed
Why are you so easily intimidated ?

The Big Dog's back

Intimidated?

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