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  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Eric Foner: VRA Decision "Green Light" to Disenfranchise Voters

    David Austin Walsh

    Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on. Credit: Wiki Commons.The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has struck down the critical Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 legislation that banned discriminatory practices in federal, state, and local election laws.The Voting Rights Act was formulated to target areas with a history of poll tests and historically low registration and turnout for federal oversight. Jurisdictions that fall under the Act's authority are required to pre-clear changes in local election laws with the federal government,Section 4 determined the mechanism of determining the target areas; Section 5 of the Act, which provides for the actual pre-clearance requirement itself, was not ruled upon by the Court.In his majority opinion Chief Justice John Roberts wrote“today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

  • Originally published 08/29/2017

    The Character Test Is Dead

    Steve Hochstadt

    The character test may have been turned on its head. Trump appeals to a surprisingly large segment of Americans who like nastiness, who applaud insults, who cheer bloodshed, and who hate liberals and liberal ideas. When he grabs women and laughs about it, when he tells lies about good people, when he calls journalists “sick”, when he mocks the handicapped, and when he winks at white supremacists, his supporters are happy.