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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sensenbrenner’s phony defense of the Voting Rights Act

The Hill: A leading House Republican is calling on Congress to update the Voting Rights Act just a day after the Supreme Court neutered its central provision.

Warning that “the threat of discrimination still exists," Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) is urging lawmakers from both parties to cast aside partisanship and restore the law for the sake of protecting voters’ rights.

“The Voting Rights Act is vital to America’s commitment to never again permit racial prejudices in the electoral process," Sensenbrenner, the second-ranked 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."
The problem is that Sensenbrenner’s a big fan of the sort of voter suppression the VRA was meant to prevent. When Attorney General Eric Holder said that South Carolina’s voter ID requirement amounted to an illegal poll tax (and it did), Sensenbrenner came just short of accusing him of trying to destroy America. He has also been a big supporter of Gov. Scott Walker’s voter ID attempts in his own home state of Wisconsin. So any claim he has to being a defender of voting rights is complete horseshit and you have every right to laugh at the absurdity of the claim for as long as you want to.

Sensenbrenner expands on his arguments in an op-ed in Politico. And it’s a barely disguised attack on Holder and the idea the voter ID is a form of disenfranchisement — despite the fact that that’s exactly what voter ID laws do. It’s pretty clear that what Sensenbrenner wants is an Orwellian bill that we can pretend is a “Voting Rights Act," but allows states to pass racist voter suppression laws. In other words, a typical GOP bait and switch from a party that’s become so awful and so unpopular that they believe that they either have to fool people into voting for them or block them from voting at all.

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