This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

President Lyndon Johnson passes to Martin Luther King, Jr. the pen with which he signed
the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965.
Seven years ago, when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 came up for its fourth renewal, most Republicans voted in favor. In fact, all Republicans present in the Senate joined all the Democrats in a 98-0 approval vote. The House vote wasn't unanimous, but it was very lopsided.

After passage, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Republican of Wisconsin who then chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said, "This legislation proves our unbending commitment to voting rights." He wasn't the only one.

The question now is what Republicans in the Senate and House may do to fix the act if the Supreme Court overrules its key enforcement provision, Section 5. At least three members of the court are certain to choose that path and one, Chief Justice John Roberts, who opposed it as a young lawyer in the Reagan administration, seems very likely to do so again.

Section 5 is the heart and teeth of the Voting Rights Act. It mandates that any changes in voting laws that nine states and local jurisdictions in seven other states seek to make must get approval in advance from the U.S. Department of Justice. This pre-clearance was required in 1965 because, starting in the late 1870s, Jim Crow laws were passed to keep blacks from voting. Later, other jurisdictions were included under Section 5 because of their record of trying to disfranchise Latinos and American Indians.

But, starting with the debate over the 1982 renewal some Southerners claimed that the pre-clearance provision was unfair punishment for practices, like so-called "literacy" tests and poll taxes, that had been abandoned. Therefore, they argued, the laws were no longer needed and stigmatized states of the old Confederacy. That is the same argument that plaintiffs have put forth before the Supreme Court justices this year in the case of Shelby County [Alabama] v. Holder.

Among the other Republican backers of the 2006 renewal, Amanda Terkel reports, was John Boehner, House majority leader at the time. He voted against a couple of Republican-sponsored amendments to weaken Section 5, calling it "an effective tool in protecting a right that is fundamental to our democracy."

But when asked about it recently on "Meet the Press," he replied, "I think the Voting Rights Act has passed with large majorities in the House and Senate. I think it's something that has served our country well. But there is argument over a very small section of the Voting Rights Act, and that's what the court is going to consider."

Sensenbrenner took issue with Boehner's characterization of Section 5 being a "small section" of the civil rights law.

"It's an important part of the Voting Rights Act. If it's struck down and fixable, Congress has the obligation to fix it," he said.

One could perhaps take heart from this vocal support. But given how the House of Representatives has worked to "fix" things lately, that obligation could be abandoned along with other commonsense approaches left Republicans are increasingly leaving on the roadside.



You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.