May 25, 2009

"A golden opportunity to revamp the Voting Rights Act"

Guy Charles and Luis Fuentes-Rohwer have written this LA Times oped. A snippet: "Although it is politically incorrect to say, and it pains us as good liberals to admit it, the court's striking down of Section 5 would actually help move voting rights policy into the 21st century." It concludes:

    But let's be clear: Though striking down the Voting Rights Act might be good for the country, it also would be a radical move for the court. The power of Congress to protect the right of citizens to vote without racial discrimination is explicitly provided for in the Constitution, which cannot be said for the power of the courts to strike down federal statutes.

    The fact that the self-described "strict constructionists" on the court would be the ones striking down this landmark statute reveals the poverty of the conservative argument against judicial activism. We are all judicial activists now and have always been so.

    Nevertheless, the current Voting Rights Act is outdated. Liberals who reflexively defend the outmoded policy are as insensitive to the political rights of voters of color as their conservative counterparts who maintain, without evidence, that race no longer plays a role in the democratic process. If, however, the court's "strict constructionists" strike down Section 5, we won't shed any tears. And if you care about voting rights policy, you shouldn't either. Political correctness be damned.

Posted by Rick Hasen at May 25, 2009 01:53 PM