Skip to comments.Black Caucus members seek improvements to Voting Rights Act
Posted on 07/23/2013 4:04:50 AM PDT by onyx
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are seeking to strengthen the Voting Rights Act by making it easier for judges to expand voter protections across the country in response to individual discrimination lawsuits.
The effort goes beyond crafting a broad definition of which voters should get extra protection based on regional records of racial discrimination.
The move is an indication that some Democrats are hoping to use last months Supreme Court decision scrapping the laws Section 4 coverage formula as an opportunity to bolster other provisions of the landmark civil rights legislation that were left intact by the ruling.
Specifically, the lawmakers are taking a close look at revising Section 3, which empowers the court to apply Section 5s federal preclearance requirements to jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against minority voters.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), whos leading the charge, wants to lower the bar so that judges can apply the extra layer of scrutiny in cases where election rules are found to have a discriminating effect.
Butterfield says the burden of proving intentional prejudice makes it too difficult to extend the federal protections, even in lawsuits where discrimination against minority voters is discovered.
I want to lower the standard of proof from intentional discrimination, which is hard to prove, to discriminatory result, Butterfield, a former voting rights attorney, said last week.
So if the court were to find that [a jurisdiction] had an election system that had a discriminatory result to minority citizens, then that would be sufficient to trigger Section 3, which would then trigger Section 5.
Along with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Butterfield is leading a CBC task force charged with outlining legislative recommendations for amending the Voting Rights Act in the wake of the Supreme Courts decision.
The group met Monday to finalize those recommendations, with the members poised to present their ideas to the full group on Wednesday.
Afterward, the lawmakers will deliver the recommendations to party leaders, including Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat.
Clyburn was appointed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to spearhead the legislative response to the Supreme Court ruling.
The two separate working groups are not in competition or conflict, Butterfield emphasized, but were doing some thinking and researching and trying to make some recommendations to Pelosis group.
Butterfield added he is in daily communication with Clyburn.
The lawmakers also want to rewrite the Section 4 formula dictating which states are subject to extra voting protections based on documented histories of discrimination.
The Supreme Court shot down Section 4, claiming it was outdated, but invited Congress to revise the formula based on current events.
The court kept intact the federal preclearance powers outlined in Section 5, the authority of judges to expand those protections under Section 3 and the right for individuals to file election-related discrimination suits defined by Section 2.
Scott said hes optimistic the lawmakers can tweak the formula and get it through Congress this year.
If you look at the Section 2 violations, most of them are occurring in covered jurisdictions. So the formula has been fairly accurate, he said last week. So we just need to update the list.
Its unclear, however, if top Republicans are on board.
While House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has urged lawmakers to find a responsible path forward in response to the Supreme Court decision, other GOP leaders have been much more reticent about Congresss role.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last month that he was reviewing the decision, but has yet to weigh in further. His office on Monday deflected questions to the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who heads the Judiciary panel, suggested at a hearing on the law last week that the court was correct to scrap Section 4 as outdated. He was quick to note that voters are still protected by Sections 2 and 3.
A committee official said Monday that Goodlatte has not made an indication at this time about the need for Congress to act following the courts decision.
Butterfield, for his part, is already wary of Republicans reluctance to voice a position. He warned that supporters of restoring the Voting Rights Act face an uphill battle in the face of a sharply divided GOP conference.
The looming question, the elephant in the room, is whether Boehner and Cantor will bring this to the floor without a majority of the Republican conference, he said, referring to a threshold often called the Hastert Rule.
If the Boehner Rule is invoked, then I dont feel optimistic that it will ever get to the floor.
Good luck, CBC!
If anything, the Voting Rights Act should be rewritten to criminalize black intimidation of whites outside polling places.
“Congressional Black Caucus”
Any comments from the Congressional WHITE Caucus?...........................nevermind.
Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
Isn’t this a racist organization by it’s own title?
Race relations will never improve as long as one side keeps segregating themselves.
As someone who was a live in the 1950s and saw real racism, most blacks today have no idea how far things have come.
White America is not the problem.
Right. That would be “racist.”
You’re absolutely right.
We want to make it impossible for anyone to question us at any time for any thing that has anything to do with voting, and that no one can use the courts against us. Which is to say, we want absolute black freedom over whites.
It’s freaky how so many of these types of people are fixated on “voting”. Every day they wake up and say to themselves, I’ve got to “vote”! These people need to get a hobby or something.
First come, first installed of course.
Misleading headline and story. What’s really happening is that the CBC is being enlisted by white Democrats to subvert the GOP vote and bolster vote fraud because Obama is killing their chance to hold the Senate or regain the House.
Just more electioneering by Democrats.
Is that before or after they wonder what white people are doing today?
Why mimic their retrograde bigotry? Instead we should be recruiting pro-marriage, pro-life and pro-growth black candidates to run against each of these goofs in their home districts.
The dumbest thing the GOP did was allow Johnson and the racist Democrats to become the black voter’s best friend. It was a lie then and it is a lie now. The Democrats have done what the KKK couldn’t: destroy the black family.
Their policies have disarmed blacks, removed fathers, and created a perpetual dependency. Slavery was better.
The CBC needs to be disbanded. As does the CHC does.
Whites are fools to continue to allow all this racial grievance crap.
Some strong pubbie stands up and gets enough face time for the media to report, "Whites demand Congressional White Caucus"
WHAT, do you suppose, would the conversation be about ?
Thankful for the bipartisan competition?
They can't do that. it's OUR thing ?
This means WAH, Larreh ..
We don't hear much about the Christian prayer breakfasts anymore ... either they aren't anymore, or they're not "newsworthy"
But a congressional CHALLENGE?
Lemmee ask you, 101ORD ... what good has politics and doing "the right thing" gotten us?
Jesus sayS ..
Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. KJV
They’re busy in laboratories creating melanin-based diseases.
The Congressional Black Caucus is indeed a racist organization, sponsored by our government.
The Klan with a Tan.
Militant blacks who frighten the Bejeebers out of every white Congressman and Senator on the Hill. Not one of them has the courage to stand up to the CBC.
We are winning. We’re regaining our gun rights across all 50 states. We’re winning the abortion debate. We hold the House and would have gained seats in the Senate last time around save unbelievable gaffes on the parts of candidates.
The House GOP is the most conservative in decades. We will likely take the Senate. All the issues that Obama suppressed in 2012 still exist today, but the TEA Party won’t be stopped this time.
IL turned back homosexual marriage.
We’re winning. Push harder and don’t give up.
Valid comments ... thanx.
I can see one member of the CBC asking another:
“I suppose putting in that voting rights act that a African-American automatically gets three ballots is not on the table this time?”
Yes, it is.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a racist organization.
The United Negro College Fund is a racist organization.
Black Entertainment Television is a racist propaganda channel.
Ebony magazine (if it still exists) is a racist propaganda publication.
Republicans should ban all gerrymandering racial and otherwise in any bill offered. That will kill it.
Fine. IIRC, According to the US Census, "Black or African American. This number includes 34.7 million people, or 12.3 percent, who reported only Black."
Of the 435 members of the House, 43 are members of the Black Caucus, which would be 10%. Given that blacks are a minority in many districts that are dominantly white, this is hardly a major disparity.
Old GK Butterfield is my congress critter. He is from a district carved out just to make it a majority black district because there is no possible way he could be elected in a fair vote. I find it ironic that he is the least bit worried about voter discrimination since my vote is guaranteed not to count.
Voting rights? Someone needs to tell him that democrates always get 95% of the black vote anyway. And they steal the other 5% Black people don’t even need to vote.
I think that’s true with most, if not all of their districts.
You’re absolutely right.