Two Years After SCOTUS Gutting, GOP Rep Insists Congress Is Ready To Amend Voting Rights Act


Charlie Dent

In June of 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a contentious 5-4 ballot divided along ideological lines. From his naive and privileged white male perch, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, “Our country has changed…While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

Two months later writer Ari Berman of The Nation, apparently a little wider-eyed than the conservative SCOTUS wing, wrote a piece entitled The Voting Rights Act Is in Peril on Its Forty-Eighth Anniversary. In it, he observed:


“The Supreme Court’s decision in late June invalidating Section 4 of the VRA threatens to roll back much of the progress made over the past 48 years. Since the ruling, six Southern states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions, with North Carolina recently passing the country’s worst voter suppression law. The latest assault on the franchise comes on the heels of a presidential election in which voter suppression attempts played a starring role.”

But that’s why Roberts and his cohorts threw the ball back at Congress, right? Surely our elected officials wouldn’t stand for rampant modern disenfranchisement efforts after so many fought and died for truly universal suffrage.

I guess the court’s right wing is so deeply committed to the study of law, they haven’t paid much attention to the news since Obama took the oath of office in January 2009. The most recently adjourned 113th Congress produced just 22 percent of it’s “Do-Nothing,” 1947-1948 counterpart. Suffice it to say the Voting Rights Act is every bit as imperiled on its 50th anniversary this year, as it was on its 48th.

Maybe it’s because I just stepped out of the ballot box this week, casting my vote in an effort to unseat Chicago’s machiniest (yes, I just invented a word) Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Maybe it’s because most of the volunteer faces I saw at my local polling place making the magic happen were African-American ones, but I’m more irked than usual by Capitol Hill’s failure to act.

On last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Republican House Member Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania spoke with Chuck Todd about the fate of the VRA. Despite actually supporting a Congressional rewrite of the law, Dent provided the usual rhetorical cover for his less noble party mates on the subject of voter ID restrictions (the ones that in many states allow for concealed weapons permits to be presented, but not student identification):

“Well, I do support voter ID. I think Republicans will insist on voter ID being protected. I’m from Pennsylvania. I have witnessed voter fraud. We had a state senator thrown out because of absentee ballot fraud in the 1990s. I lived through that.

It was awful. It was a stolen election. And we’ve seen it. We had a candidate for Congress in Maryland not so long ago in 2012 who voted in both 2006 and 2008 in Florida and Maryland. She had to drop out. So, there is real fraud out there. And I think you can be against discrimination and against fraud. Those two ideas are compatible.”

After hearing Dent’s comments, a rather simple observation occurred to me. What is the common denominator in the Representative’s two fraud examples? Both were perpetrated by politicians rather than private citizens. I think most of us are still waiting for the “awful” tales of our next door neighbor running to the ballot box multiple times just for kicks. In the fraudulent absentee ballot scenario, is there any doubt it was a conspiracy cooked up by the state senate candidate and his or her staff?

It should be no surprise by this time, but whenever present-day Republicans point a finger and cry “foul,” you can be reasonably sure the crime is an inside job. But when justice, common sense and decency fail to get them to move, sometimes a little shame is the most effective weapon. If Dent hopes to be taken at all seriously after his television appearance last Sunday, may he repeat his words early and often to his GOP colleagues:

“I think many Republicans recognize that the Voting Rights Act is the single most important civil rights legislation ever passed in American history. And we also take seriously the fact that we do need to amend the Voting Rights Act, given the court’s rulings.”

12 Replies to “Two Years After SCOTUS Gutting, GOP Rep Insists Congress Is Ready To Amend Voting Rights Act”

  1. Dents district went for the President and he tried to play the moderate even though he votes with the American Taliban all the time and still Steve Israel took the seat out of play because they are friends.

    This is the problem people. Until Pelosi and the rest of the dummycrats get serious and realize you cannot negotiate with terrorist we will end up in this clusterfuk.

    Don’t fall for this dog and pony show because until we regain full power millions will be denied their right to vote.

  2. This guy is a lying-assed petri dish child. He is an excellent example of the propaganda and lies from the Gods Of Poverty. And yes, he is mentally deranged as are the rest of his greedy assed buddys. Not to mention racist & hypocritical. What a fake.

  3. Teathuligans won’t be happy until only white, land owning Christian males are allowed to vote, like god intended.

    It’s in the Constitution somewhere between the lines. [WINK]

  4. ” I’m from Pennsylvania. I have witnessed voter fraud. We had a state senator thrown out because of absentee ballot fraud in the 1990s. I lived through that.”

    Voter ID is for in-person voting and not for absentee ballots. He’s talking apples and oranges to hide the real reason behind the “voter ID” laws, which is voter suppression. If student ID’s aren’t allowed, but gun permits are, it pretty much reveals who they want to allow to vote and who they don’t. The gun nuts mostly vote Republican and the younger generation sees where Republicans allegiance lie, so they don’t want them to vote.

  5. The only voter fraud has been attributed to whites yet the republicans now would have you believe that they want disenfranchised people to vote again. This is a ruse to get black votes. Do not be fooled, hoodwinked or bamboozaled. If you have been born in this country or even abroad to US citizens you are a citizen and should be allowed to vote in this country and the state you live it period and it should not take an act of Congress to make it so. Heck Ted Cruz, born in Alberta, Canada, Considers himself a citizen and should be allowed to be president so why do we need permission from anyone to vote. That is indeed the problem in this country.

  6. Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are the enemies within. They are FAR more dangerous than Reince Priebus and Karl Rove, because you don’t see them coming.

    These “Democrats work from within the Democratic Party to ensure no viable and strong Democrat runs for a wishy-washy Republican’s seat, keeping that seat warm and unchallenged for their Republican friends.

    With “Democrats” like these, who needs Ted Cruz to dismantle the Democratic Party?

  7. That’s right! Absentee ballot voting isn’t even addressed in any Neo=Confederate’s voter suppression bills in those racist States.

    So he’s trying to conflate the two when, if he and his Neo-Confederate colleagues in the House are serious about tackling voter fraud, they’d tackle absentee ballots (which always seem to benefit the Neo-Confederate Party), not in-person voting.

    Clearly, that Neo-Confederate is NOT interested in tackling voter fraud. He’s only interested in disenfranchising more minorities – especially the Latino vote which will cost them the Senate and the White House in 2016 (if the Democratic nominee puts Secretary of HUD, Julian Castro, on the top ticket).

  8. The main issue the court had with the VRA was that it wasn’t inclusive of all states, equal protection under the law. It only included the few confederate states, and those who’d actually shown their bigotry. All that is needed is for congress to rewrite the law to include all states and territories, retroactively, but we all know that’s a stretch!

  9. So fundamentally, Roberts & the Scotus believed that they were going to eliminate a fix to an existing problem and THEN expect Congress to fix it?

    Bring, R’s. Please bring your “fix” to the voters this pre-election cycle. We’d love to hear your explanations – over and over and over.

  10. We need to change the “right” to vote into a requirement for citizens to vote similar to Australia. Too many lazy citizens sit at home and expect the right choices to be made. Instead of disenfranchisement, make it a requirement.

  11. ill-Compromised Voting Rights Amendment Act

    On January 16, 2014, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) , John Conyers (D-MI) , Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 22 cosponsors introduced H.R.3899 – “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014” -ostensibly to fix the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision on June 25, 2013 that invalidated the pre-clearance section of the VRA. The bipartisan legislation purports to reinstate vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away. However, the proposed new Section 4 will not apply to states like Alabama, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, that hav e an extensive history of voting discrimination and were previously subject to Section 5. Furthermore, the amended act exempts the current wave of voting restrictions through Voter ID Laws enacted by emerging neo-redeemer states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and North Carolina’s newly-ena…

  12. Taxpayer Voter ID Act would allow more citizens to vote
    by Asa Gordon, DC Statehood Green Party
    July 22, 2014_GREEN PAGES Vol.18,No. 1-Summer 2014

    Universal & Automatic Voter Identification & Registration for all US citizens of a state that files a federal tax return pursuant to enforcement of the malapportionment penalty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    The United States of America is founded on the principle of “No taxation without Representation.”
    Accordingly, any document used by the Federal or State Government for taxation assessment constitutes sufficient taxpayer identification to register and vote for that Government. Any citizen of the United States who has filed a tax return is automatically registered to vote. The state in which a federal tax return is filed is required to mail the taxpayer a registration and voter ID card or be subject to the malapportionment penalty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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