Politicizing …


Politicizing Voting Rights Act dims luster

The fundamental goals and bipartisan legacy of the Voting Rights Act are imperiled by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department and the administration he serves.
The beleaguered attorney general recently asserted that common-sense efforts to ensure the identity and citizenship of voters represent a modern “poll tax” — inconsistent with the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965. Historic in nature, the civil rights law sought to end decades of racial discrimination that prevented minorities from fully exercising their constitutional right to vote.

In 1982, I helped lead negotiations to reauthorize it. The House passed the reauthorization 389-24, and President Ronald Reagan signed it. In July 2005, I stood before the NAACP’s national convention in Milwaukee and announced my intention as chairman of the Judiciary Committee to introduce and move legislation reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years.
A year later, the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 passed the House 390-33; it cleared the Senate 98-0, and President George W. Bush signed it into law in a rare moment of historic bipartisan unity.

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