When the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act and kicked it back to Congress, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives handed the first hearing on the matter off to the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. That means the next incarnation of the law that finally dismantled the most tenacious statutes and practices interfering with African Americans’ right to vote will be shaped by a team of right-wing legislators who are not only skeptical of key provisions of the law but who also routinely support new attempts at voter suppression.
The Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized in 2006, earning unanimous Senate support and “ayes” from an impressive 390 House members. Although the 33 members who voted against reauthorization were all Republicans, passage was overwhelmingly bipartisan; at the time, the White House and both houses of Congress were controlled by Republicans. Troublingly, however, two of those “nay” votes now sit on the subcommittee tasked with reexamining the VRA — including Chairman Trent Franks (R-AZ). He and other members of the subcommittee have also been reliable proponents of voter ID laws and other measures designed to make voting more difficult.Read more after the jump.