As the story in today's WSJ by the excellent David Rogers notes, the just-passed House bill extending certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act doesn't MERELY extend provisions; it actually adds to the old law. (Passed, it must be noted, after Speaker Dennis Hastert came down like a ton of bricks against conservatives of his own party, as is becoming increasingly his habit.) And what it adds makes things even worse. For one thing, the bill tries to effectively make an end-run against the Georgia v Ashcroft decision that helped put limits on the enforced racial segregation of voting districts. What the House bill does is re-establish a form of electoral apartheid, and tries to guarantee election outcomes by assuming that all minority voters have readily identifiable "preffered candidates of choice." The "right" to elect said candidates is then assumed to be sacrosanct. The great conservative lawyer Ted Olson has criticized this new provision, and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia rightly complained that the provision woul tried to guarantee "the outcome of elections" rather than "the right of individuals to vote." In short, the bill in many, many ways is utterly pernicious, and itself makes utterly racist assumptions about how the color of somebody's skin automatically determines their voting preferences. And remember, the Georgia v. Ashcroft decision that this bill tries to vitiate is a decision that was SUPPORTED by the black, Democratic attorney general of Georgia. As if Denny Hastert from his wrestling coach's bench in Illinois knows more about the needs and rights and concerns of black voters than does the black, Democratic attorney general of Georgia, Thurbert Baker. The arrogance of Hastert and company is outrageous. And the cravenness of their pandering to the gods of "political correctness" is nauseating. This bill harms voters black and white alike, and it likely will be overturned in court because it is manifestly unconstitutional. Gee, thanks, Denny.
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