House GOP demonstrates its hostility to the Voting Rights Act

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

You know the game is rigged when the House GOP invites the guy notorious for GOP voter suppression efforts, Hans von Spakovsky, as its chief witness to Thursday's House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice committee hearing on the Voting Rights Act. See Hans von Spakovsky: A familiar face behind voter suppression, and Hans Von Spakovsky 101: How To Suppress The Vote Like A Pro for a quick background.

Ari Berman at The Nation reports, Rep. John Lewis: 'The Voting Rights Act Is Needed Now Like Never Before':

The House Judiciary Committee just concluded its first hearing
on the VRA, where it was clear that no consensus exists between the
parties on whether to fix the VRA or how to do so. The Republican
congressmen and witnesses maintained that existing parts of the VRA,
notably Sections 2 and 3, were sufficient replacements for Sections 4
and 5 and thus, in the words of Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation: “there’s no reason for Congress to take any action.”

Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that
even though Section 4 has been ruled unconstitutional, thereby
paralyzing Section 5, “other very important provisions remain in place.”
Added Christian Adams,
a former Bush Administration official in the DOJ civil rights division
who pushed the bogus lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party in
Philadelphia: “Reports of the demise of the Voting Rights Act have been
greatly exaggerated. What remains? Everything else.” Von Spakovsky
called Section 2 “the heart of the VRA.”

As always, this evil bastard is lying. Section 5 preclearance is the key feature of the VRA, and that is suspended until Congress can enact a new coverage formula under Section 4. Section 2 is little used because it is costly and time consuming, and cannot stop voter suppression before it happens.

It’s worth expanding on how disingenuous these claims are. As I noted
above, neither Section 2 nor Section 3 come close to having the impact
of Section 5. As election law expert Rick Hasen writes:
“Section 2 is no substitute for section 5.
It has virtually no teeth
these days outside of the redistricting area…It has not been used
successfully go to after voter id, and it would be hard to use it (given
the statutory standard) to go after problems with voter registration
and long lines. Even worse, if courts start reading section 2 more
broadly to cover things like voter id, then section 2 itself could be
found by the Roberts Court to be unconstitutional.” As Justice Kennedy
said in 2009 (and seems to have forgotten in 2013), “Section 2 cases
are very expensive. They are very long. They are very inefficient.

That’s why DOJ – which blocked discriminatory voting laws in places like
Texas during the last election under Section 5 – hasn’t filed a single
Section 2 lawsuit during the Obama administration.

Moreover, states with recent voting violations can only be covered
under Section 3 of the VRA if plaintiffs show that voting changes were
enacted with intentional discrimination, which is almost impossible to
prove
. Congress could amend Section 3 so that plaintiffs only have to
prove the effect of discrimination to win a case, but absent that,
Section 3 will remain a little-used remedy.

Section 5 is so important because, as Bob Kengle of the Lawyers’
Committee for Civil Rights noted, “racial discrimination in voting needs
to be stopped before it occurs.”
Spencer Overton of George Washington
University Law School likened it to the metal detector he passed through
before testifying today in the House.

Rep. Sensenbrenner is still the only high-profile Republicans to
argue that Section 5 remains vital.
The rest of the GOP seems to be
reciting talking points from the Heritage Foundation. Unless a
tremendous amount of pressure is brought upon Congress to resurrect
Section 4 or to strengthen the other parts of the VRA – starting during
the August recess – chances for VRA reform look pretty slim.

This would be the same Heritage Foundation recently burned by its immigration reform report drafted in part by Jason Richwine, a man with a history of writings for white supremacist organizations who believes that there are deep-set, likely genetic IQ differences between races, and
that low-IQ immigrants should be kept out of the country. Heritage immigration report raises doubts — about Heritage.

It would appear that the heritage the Heritage Foundation is most concerned with is the Southern "heritage" (sic) of slavery and state-sanctioned segregation — the stain of America's original sin — and white privilege. Why anyone listens to anything the racist Heritage Foundation has to say is beyond comprehension.

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