Talk about your disappointments. The first black president of the United States and the first black attorney general say they are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.
In fact, the ruling is worth celebrating. It reflects the success of the civil rights-era legislation in ending laws and practices aimed at denying blacks the right to vote. As chief Justice John Roberts noted in his majority opinion, two hotbeds of anti-black violence in those days, Selma, Ala., and Philadelphia, Miss., both have African-American mayors.
“Problems remain in these states and others, but there is no denying that, due to the Voting Rights Act, our nation has made great strides,” he wrote in the 5-4 decision.
The act required that routine election changes in all or most of nine states and parts of others — including New York — get advance approval from the Justice Department. Opponents argued the law relied on data from 40 years ago and intruded on the states’ sovereignty.
Holder’s objections are especially galling. He once called America “a nation of cowards” on race, but apparently wants a conversation only when he gets his way.
The court correctly concluded that America’s race relations have changed dramatically since 1965, even if some who benefitted from those changes refuse to take yes for an answer.
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