Analysis: Lawmakers Disagree On Relevancy Of Voting Rights Act | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Analysis: Lawmakers Disagree On Relevancy Of Voting Rights Act

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In the wake of the Supreme Court Ruling striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Congress will consider whether to take on the task of revising the bill. While the House is set to hold a hearing on the issue this month, one lawmaker from Virginia says he doesn't know whether Congress will ultimately review it. Meanwhile, a lawmaker from Maryland says she doesn't think the law should have been struck down in the first place. David Hawkings, writer of the [Hawkings Here]( column for Roll Call, talks about some of the details.

Rep. Donna Edwards said she believed the Voting Rights Act is still relevant, even if the data supporting it was from the 1960s. On why lawmakers disagree on the issue of outdated evidence here?

"The idea here is that the Voting Rights Act required states with patterns of racial discrimination in their voting to get pre-permission -- to get advanced permission from the federal government before changing any of their voting rules... And so how did they prove there'd been a pattern of racial discrimination? They used data from 1972 because essentially Congress for the last couple of times they had been reauthorizing this act, which had been around since the 1960s, haven't been able to agree on a different formula. And the Supreme Court ruled that using data from that long ago was unfair to several states where things have changed."

Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said the House would hold a hearing on Voting Rights this month. On what we can expect to come out of that hearing:

"I think what you'll see is that with both sides — Republicans and Democrats — will propose they would do it differently. And that hearing will... just be a standoff that will likely continue."

On Goodlatte speaking about immigration reform:

"Goodlatte is resistant to a path toward citizenship. That's the key, essentially in a word, the Republicans in the House want border security first and guaranteed, before they even talk about a path to citizenship."

Listen to the full analysis here.


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