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The True Irony of Today's Voting Rights Ruling

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    What was lost in today's Supreme Court ruling throwing out Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is that the Court supposedly packed with individuals who rail against the idea of the Constitution being a living document actually became "activist" jurists themselves today. The Constitution is very explicit when it comes to who has authority to make and change voting laws.

    The Twenty-Forth Amendment to the Constitution reads:

    Section 1: The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    Section 2: The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


    I argue that voter identification laws are a poll tax. The only way I would accept that they're not is if the identification cards that states forced everyone to have for voting eligibility were free for all. Homeless individuals have just as much of a right to vote as any millionaire and the difficulty they have in obtaining photo identification, in my mind, makes these laws unconstitutional. According to Texas an expired gun license from any state is legitimate, but a student ID with a photograph on it is not.

    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court felt otherwise today. The five conservative justices feel that our racist past is entirely behind us and that the states are free to decide who does and doesn't have the right to vote. This activist court has the potential to do more harm to civil rights in this country than any court since sanctioned racism was finally done away with. Over forty years of steady and relative progress now has the potential to be entirely undone by these supposed "strict constitutionalists" on the right side of the bench.

    Southern states are already tripping over themselves in announcing that they are going ahead with strict voting laws in the days and weeks ahead. I am worried that what our Supreme Court did today will have consequences that are felt for years, if not decades, to come. The only thing that will be able to stop them is the American people standing up and demanding a Constitutional amendment to explicitly state once and for all that any eligible voter has a fundamental right to vote with no interference from their state or the federal government.