George Will: Time caught up with the Voting Rights Act

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.”



I vote in Perkins and I was asked for my driver license the last several times that I voted. I did not have a problem with showing them and they had no problem giving me my ballot after they seen it. I do personally know the lady that asked to see it however I felt she was just trying to do her job as best as she could.


Strange how the Barack-holes are OK with the NSA collecting their phone calls, emails, etc., but then they wet themselves and moan when someone asks them for their ID in order to vote.


The same libs who claim showing an ID to vote is so burdensome, have no problem producing one to collect welfare benefits, buy liquor, or a pack of smokes.

The Big Dog's back

So you're saying it's OK to show a welfare card to vote?


Re: "So you're saying it's OK to show a welfare card to vote?"

If a State rules that a SNAP card is an acceptable form of ID that would be true.

Back to the 10th Amend. Big DERP.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


I don't know, do you ever get tired of the blisters on your palms?


Why would the Libocrits on here want voter ID laws?

They need to keep this stuff up:

Sometimes you really believe in a candidate so much, you’d do anything to help them win. Anything. Maybe even a little voter fraud. Officials in Ohio are investigating whether an Ohio poll worker voted multiple times for Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election (Which kind of violates that whole one person, one vote idea behind a representative democracy). Melowese Richardson is apparently such an ardent supporter of Obama that she says she voted for him twice — casting votes via absentee ballot and also at a polling station. Authorities are also looking into whether the Cincinnati woman voted in the place of four other people, including her granddaughter.

The Big Dog's back

You mean like SOS Ken Blackwell did for bush in 2004?


Re: "SOS Ken Blackwell did for bush in 2004?"

Welcome to 2013 Big DERP!


You are in 2013 all of a sudden!?


Answer this Brutus:
When you go to vote at your Socialist/Cult/Union elections, are you required to show a valid ID?

The Big Dog's back



Huh. All my family members (UAW, USW, IAF) have to show a valid ID. Yours must be small if everyone knows everyone else.

You should offer a better return for the dues money. Maybe you could get more members.

The Big Dog's back

Ahhhhhhh. I see the problem now. All of your family members have had a good union family life. Don't be jealous of them, go get yourself a good paying union job.


Not jealous at all. While there was a low point a few years ago I have much better pay and bennies than they do now. And I don't have 3% of my pay confiscated to fund some union thugs' lazy ways.


Which........Show that our current laws work.

So, if the laws work, please explain why we need to change them.

Take a look at our representative region lines and try to explain how we benefit through representation. This can happen in Ohio because the Voter Rights Act does not include Ohio. Instead of removing states that are currently included we should include all states.


Re: "Take a look at our representative region lines and try to explain how we benefit through representation."

Both major parties gerrymander when they are in the majority.

Voting is a states' rights issue.

Why is it that the liberals feel the need to protect potential voter fraud?

My working rule in business: It's not that I don't trust you, I'm just trying to keep you honest.

The Big Dog's back

With a Repub like pooh, everything is "what if".


Deertracker won.


So Obozo is in Kenya, his birth country preaching about voter ID's and registration now this
The faces of hypocricy are on the progressive side of the room.

The Big Dog's back

Maybe he will hold dual Presidency. President of US and President of Kenya. Right on Brother Barack.


Thank you for posting that link.

"In 2011, the Pentagon released its first formal cyber strategy, which called computer hacking from other nations an "act of war," according to the Wall Street Journal. In late June of this year, WSJ reported that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, released information alleging the U.S. government was hacking Chinese targets "that include the nation's mobile-phone companies and one of the country's most prestigious universities."

"President Obama, however, doesn't seem to think he's done anything wrong."

The reason why Obama thinks that he has done nothing wrong is because he has no clue at what a president is supposed to do. He thinks that being president is gallavanting all over the world and acting like a celebrity instead of a president who should be taking care of the problems at home.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

As long as there is a reasonable and accessible method for voters to get the appropriate ID I see no reason why this is an issue. While I cannot speak for any at my store directly, in casual conversation of topics with my community there isn't much concern with them regarding it and I promise you all my demographics are very wide in scope.

We live in the 21st century and, political parties aside, there are some mentalities, issues, and stereotypes I would love to see fall to the wayside. We neither live in the 1800s nor the 1960s. Sheesh. Myself and others I know are insulted on a continual basis by those in power who continue to impose those cultural standards and thoughts on us.

For the reasons above is one of my pillars in support of term limits for Congress members as too many of them are at least from the most recent era mentioned. A few may even be 19th-century holdovers, too. When upset members of a constituency anywhere have to wait for you to forcibly retire due to scandal or age; or for you to perish in office so something can actually get done...that's pretty sad.


Personally, I believe an ID to vote should be mandatory. If you care at all about the country you live in you should appreciate that the voting process is conducted honestly. I also feel that if you do not pay any taxes over a period of one year then you lose that right to vote until you do, of course there would be exclusions for things like retirees and home makers who file jointly with their spouse that pays income taxes. I believe that there is a very valid argument on the fact that if you put no monies into the pot then you should have no say on how they are spent and that means voting for a candidate that would give you the most for doing the least. New slogan, (You have no say if you do not pay)

Off topic but I also believe that the second amendment is great but we are a country of more city dwellers that country folk, therefor I feel that anyone who chooses to purchase and own any firearm should be required to take the twelve hour safety and concealed carry class with range time. It is not about how to shoot but more about the laws and the responsibility of owning a firearm.

Bottom line, voting is an honor, so respect it!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with your first paragraph, though to put it in historical comparison, that was the same reason why only white males could vote in the past. They were the only ones at the time who were allowed to own land. Thusly the thought was "only those with a/n in/vested interest in the place can help make decisions since they are the ones actively participating and paying taxes. How to fix this?

National sales tax. Everyone (or at least the vast, vast, vast majority) pays into the system. Doesn't matter marital status. Doesn't matter about citizen status. Doesn't matter race, gender, income level, hobbies, etc. Everyone participates and the tax decisions affect everyone, not just a group as they divisively do now. It captures legal income, illegal income, and even if companies fraud the system in addition to presumably being caught at some point the money will still be taxed at some point in time.

The beleaguered people on assistance can no longer be simply called parasites, welfare queens, or the like because they are participating in the system just like everyone else. The strained income generators can no longer be called tax cheats, dodgers, or the like because they are participating in the system like everyone else. This is a win-win that unites all Americans, fosters responsible Congressional decisions, and for those who don't want to pay those taxes (or a lot less)...grow your own food. Build your own deck. Learn a trade. Become self-sufficient or join or start a neighborhood buying/growing/building program.

As for your second, I certainly wouldn't mind a training class/license for gun ownership as long as it were as accessible as the requirements for voting. Though I don't know so much about us being more city-based...

The Big Dog's back

So you're OK with businesses losing their tax exempt status when buying equipment? A 2 million dollar machine would generate $120,000 in taxes at 6%. Are you sure?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes because they get to keep all of their income. No corporate tax. Compared to today's rates that same purchase is at least a 20 percent discount. Probably more since companies are actually taxed twice.

Individual, corporate, and governmental responsibility are all brought to the forefront. Competitiveness is increased. Skills and trades are encouraged. This is a modern solution for modern problems based on over century old policies - monetary and societal.


I an out of town and typing on a cell phone is a pain.Yes iI like that system, and we are in a new century where fair voting can be accomplished and fair taxes paid. As always here I Luke to post to make people think most of the time. L8tr

The Big Dog's back

Actually big Corporations pay little if any income tax. Everything they would buy would be taxed, from a pencil to healthcare. It would actually harm small businesses.