President Obama today said he was “deeply disappointed” by a Supreme Court ruling that states could no longer be judged by standards nearly 50 years old to determine whether their voting procedures require federal oversight.
Deeply disappointed? Really? Have we made no progress in five decades? Are we really at this point in danger of slipping back to the kind of voter discrimination blacks experienced in the 1960s and before?
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, and parts of seven other states to receive “pre-clearance” from either the attorney general or federal judges before making changes to voting laws.
The Court didn’t invalidate the principle that some states or areas require federal scrutiny. It merely said we’ve advanced enough as a society that new standards must be written based on current conditions, and that the punishment of states for what was done even before the civil rights era must be stopped.
Obama almost immediately released a written statement of outrage:
I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.
As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.
Note that last sentence. Get ready for some kind of end run around the Court.
This president, especially as our first African American president, was supposed to be about unifying the nation. How does it unite the country to continue to leave certain states and regions in the corner with a dunce cap on, degrading them despite decades of arduous progress?
Obama has reflexively aligned himself with the racial-politics-as-usual crowd instead of bravely differentiating himself and acting as the leader of us all. The new kind of politician we were sold in 2008, as we see time and time again, is no different than the old kind.
Here’s the crowd I’m talking about: