On Supreme Court narrowing of Voting Rights Act, Sensenbrenner sets a commendable tone | WisCommunity

On Supreme Court narrowing of Voting Rights Act, Sensenbrenner sets a commendable tone

Never has your correspondent used this space to say something nice about Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a conservative who has, in our estimation, been wrong on any number of issues. But for once we've got to say it: Attaboy, Jimmy.

The same week as the US Supreme Court threw cold water on key anti-discrimination language in the bipartisan Voting Rights Act, Sensenbrenner was among a handful of congressional Republicans who called on their colleagues to go back into the law and fix what the justices changed. Now, bear in mind that Sensenbrenner was also the principal sponsor of the Real ID national identity card law, which can be correlated with his party's insistence state by state that voters should have to present official IDs before they're handed a ballot. That inconsistency is something that might be fixed under the Voting Rights Act, if Sensenbrenner were truly consistent and serious. We shall see. In any event, from The Hill political web site:

“The Voting Rights Act is vital to America’s commitment to never again permit racial prejudices in the electoral process,” Sensenbrenner, the second-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday in a statement. 

“This is going to take time, and will require members from both sides of the aisle to put partisan politics aside and ensure Americans’ most sacred right is protected.”

Republican Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio) and Sean Duffy (Wis.) also expressed support Wednesday for congressional action in response to the high court’s ruling.

Three down, a couple hundred Republicans to go. Of course, it's also easy for a handful of GOP lawmakers to take the high road on this, knowing full well that most of their colleagues, especially in leadership and the party's teahadist wing, aren't likely to take up this issue in the House as long as their party controls the agenda. But Sensenbrenner's view can't hurt, and as time goes on, it might become clearer to more Republicans that the ruling, unrepaired, is going to cost them minority support, which they claim they desperately need to remain a viable party in the long run. As one observer noted over at DailyKos.com, this court ruling may even backfire on Republicans sooner than later. Wrote blogger Vyan:

One of the biggest motivations for minority turnout in the last election wasn't just the fact that Barack Obama was again on the ballot - it was also in defiance of the outrageous attempts to disenfranchise people from the Vote  particularly in some of the States That Weren't Covered by §5 like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

We'll see. Meanwhile, watch in shock as red states all over the country begin implementing more Republican-designed barriers to voting, barriers aimed at cutting into votes for the Democratic Party.


June 26, 2013 - 8:04pm