Reid Slams VRA Ruling: 2012 Election Shows ‘Bigotry Still Exists In Our Country’

AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) responded forcefully on Tuesday to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, decrying the ruling to gut the landmark 1965 law as ” extreme judicial activism.” 

Reid pointed to the voter suppression efforts pushed last year by many Republican governors as evidence that the landmark civil rights law is still necessary.

“We need look no further than the recent election to see the unfortunate reality that bigotry still exists in our country,” Reid said in a statement. “In 2012, there were efforts in some states to do everything possible to suppress voter turnout in minority communities. This is unacceptable, and it is a reminder of the importance of the Voting Rights Act. We should be doing everything possible to encourage participation in the democratic process and ensure every eligible voter is able to exercise his or her right to cast a ballot.”

Reid’s full statement is below:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act is a deeply disappointing example of extreme judicial activism. The Court’s conservative majority effectively ignored the Senate’s clear and unambiguous affirmation of the Voting Rights Act by a vote of ninety-eight to zero, a reauthorization that was signed into law by President Bush. This case was wrongly decided and will unjustly threaten the right to vote for millions of Americans across this country. This decision poses a special threat to voter participation among African Americans and Hispanic Americans, who have historically and disproportionately experienced discrimination when voting.

 

“Now it is up to Congress to right the wrong of this decision and ensure that we do not turn back the clock on America’s democratic progress. The Senate will act. I have asked Chairman Leahy to immediately examine the appropriate path for the Senate to address this decision. Voting is the most fundamental of our American rights, and the Voting Rights Act is one of the most important laws Congress has ever passed.

 

“We need look no further than the recent election to see the unfortunate reality that bigotry still exists in our country.  In 2012, there were efforts in some states to do everything possible to suppress voter turnout in minority communities. This is unacceptable, and it is a reminder of the importance of the Voting Rights Act. We should be doing everything possible to encourage participation in the democratic process and ensure every eligible voter is able to exercise his or her right to cast a ballot.

 

“Ensuring every Americans’ basic right to vote is an issue where Democrats and Republicans should be able to find common ground. This is the strength of our democracy, and I am confident in Congress’s ability to judge what is necessary to prevent racial discrimination in election practices.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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