Goodlatte unsure if Congress will take up Voting Rights Act
June 30th, 2013
02:06 PM ET
7 years ago

Goodlatte unsure if Congress will take up Voting Rights Act

(CNN) - The House will hold hearings on the Voting Rights Act in July, following the Supreme Court's decision last week striking down a central part of the landmark law, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte told CNN Sunday.

The Virginia Republican said he doesn't know whether Congress will work to change the law so that it's considered constitutional by the justices.

"We will look at what the Supreme Court was talking about in terms of old data,” Goodlatte said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We'll look at what new data is available and we will make sure that people's freedom to vote in elections in this country is protected."

Pressed by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on whether he predicts any specific activity on the issue from his committee, he said: "We don't know yet."

Deplorable voting conditions spurred Congress five decades ago to require certain parts of the United States to "preclear" changes to voting laws, even minor changes such as moving a polling booth across the street.

Many in those states object to such federal oversight, but defenders of the rule say it keeps those areas accountable and helps prevent repeats of past discrimination, especially against minorities.

In a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the court ruled that the section of the law requiring preclearance was effectively invalid, and threw the issue back to Congress, saying it's up to Capitol Hill to determine the formula for which areas are covered by the act.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the law has "no logical relation to the present day."

"While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy the problem speaks to the current conditions," he added.

Republicans largely hailed the decision. Some states that were waiting for approval from the federal government to go ahead with voter identification laws now say they no longer need permission.

Opponents of the Supreme Court's decisions have already started lobbying Congress to revisit the Voting Rights Act.

- CNN’s Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. rs

    The more same Senate might, but the ubber-radical TEA Party Republicans in the House still believe they can win elections by taking voting rights away from minorities and the poor.
    If this is the GOP supporting Democracy, they're doing it wrong.

    June 30, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    If Roberts says "legislation must reflect the current conditions", then shouldn't the 2nd Amendment be re-visited as well? Roberts just opened a great big can of worms with that statement.

    June 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Phil Thomas

    I wish we were ready for this as a country but something's wrong when I can vote in ten minutes in the suburbs and see minorities sitting in line for hours on TV the same day in the same city. Letting these guys decide this is truly the fox watching the hen house

    June 30, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Gary

    Of course they won't take it up. If it doesn't include taking away womens rights or ending the ACA they don't have time.

    June 30, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    That act is being used, to promote voter fraud. That is the bottom line.

    No......there is no way, that act should be revived, in any way, whatsoever.

    All states not only deserve to have voter ID to assure that the vote is fair and above reproach.......they should be demanding prevent the rampant voter fraud going on in this country. Those who DENY it is going on, are simply LIARS!

    June 30, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Colorado

    Of course he won't take it up, that leaves the door wide open for his "good ole boys" buddies to require all sorts of nonsense to obstruct voting. It's probably the only way they can win in 2014. Which they of course will say is a message from god.

    June 30, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Simple solution to getting rid of all our problems in 2014 midterms, get rid of the GOP in the house and senate . Even their jerrymandering won't save them if we all vote. If their in the minority they lose. Again. Ha ha ha ha! Just vote, they lose!!!!!!

    June 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Zerubbabel

    They have to keep their party viable somehow. They can no longer win fair elections so they have to resort to stealing them. This was their plan all along, but they will find out as they did in the presidential election that we will not allow the sacrifices, up to and including their lives, that all those of all persuasions made to make civil rights and the right to vote possible. We will come out in 2014 in force. They continue to paint themselves into a corner. The whole world is beginning to see that their positions are indefensible. They are truly showing their true colors and it ain't brown. March forward Bayard Rustin, West Chester, PA.

    June 30, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Zerubbabel

    They are strictly playing to their base since they have their safe, gerrymandered districts. They are not the ones with the final say though. There is Someone greater than them. Cowards, they can't stop this train, it has already left the station. One man, President Obama, has put so much fear in them. Hey repubs, do you feel that, what you feel is the fear of your imaginary, secure little world slipping away into the reality of a multicultured society.

    June 30, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. jboh

    There will be no action from the do nothing TEA/GOP until after the 2014 election. They don't want to give up their voter suppression efforts. Claims of voter fraud is a fraud. Even "Dubya" couldn't find any. By the way, why won't the TEA/GOP release the unedited ACORN tape? I know. Because the tape is a heavily edited fraud, jut like most TEA/GOP whining.

    June 30, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. rs

    That act is being used, to promote voter fraud. That is the bottom line.
    Care to even attempt to back that up with fact???

    There have been exactly 63 case NATIONWIDE in the last 50 years of individuals perpetrating voter fraud. A whole 63 vote cast that weren't appropriate. Think about that- you would disenfranchise millions of voters over those 63 votes.
    Naturally, you'll never admit it is because it would benefit your Mickey Mouse party.... (will all appropriate apologies to Mr. Mouse...).
    Are you so dishonest to say there is still no prejudice or discrimination in NC, SC, GA., MS, AL, TX., or AZ.? I can affirm the GOP is as racist as ever in AZ. Care to make the same claim about the old South?

    June 30, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. roro

    They had better take it up. They must update the formula which they should have done in 2006 when it was almost unanimously reauthorized by the entire Congress. This is not only a slap in the face to voters, I see it as a slap in the face to all the members of Congress who voted for the reauthorization. Now they need to sit down and do what they should have done 7 years ago.

    June 30, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Voter reform is needed.

    June 30, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. don in albuquerque

    Of course they will not act on it. The same way they did not act on gun legislation. That would be doing what the people want, and Representative Government is just not something they are into. Over the long haul...........kiss your voting rights goodbye.

    June 30, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Data Driven

    Oh why bother. John Roberts says racism is OVAH, and that's that.

    June 30, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |

    Democrats don't want voter IDs. After all, how can the dead illegals vote for the democrat candidate of their choice?

    June 30, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. w l jones

    Congress should past a law voiding # 1@2 on voting computer we know what happen in the past election with those numbers. Said enough.

    June 30, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    The GOP-controlled House won't take this up – or if they do, they won't do anything about it – until after the 2016 election. They hope to keep the House, regain the Senate and win the Presidency. Under the guise of the "will of the people," they will NEVER address voting rights and continue doing everything they can to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

    Pretty funny this "will of the people" thing, don't you think? We elected a Democratic President, House and Senate in 2008, but Repubs have done everything they can to block President Obama's agenda.

    Democrats received more votes (by over 1 million) in the House in 2012, and the Repubs continue to work day and night to make President Obama fail.

    A majority of Americans – including a majority of American millionaires and billionaires – want the wealthy to pay their fair share and close tax loopholes that favor the wealthy – but Repubs won't do it.

    A majority of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – want universal background checks and the closing of the gun show sales loophole – but Repubs won't do it.

    Funny – pathetically funny – how the Repubs thump their chests and go about how patriotic they are, how concerned they are about the "will of the people" – when ALL THEIR ACTIONS PROVE OTHERWISE.

    Remember this, folks, come November 2014: We need to send these obstructionist Repubs PACKING.

    June 30, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @Rick McDaniel: "That act is being used, to promote voter fraud. That is the bottom line."

    Quit believing all the right-wing spam email you get, Ricky-boy! Since 2000, among the 600 MILLION votes cast, 2,068 cases of "election fraud" were alleged: this is a .000003 incidence of alleged election fraud.

    Actual voter fraud is even rarer. Only 30.6% of the "election fraud" cases involved "voter fraud". That's 633 cases in 600,000,000 (or a .000001 incidence of all voter fraud).

    IN-PERSON voter fraud is "virtually non-existent". With 600 MILLION votes cast, there were 10 (yes 10) cases of alleged in-person voter fraud.

    This is a .000000001 incidence of alleged in-person voter fraud.

    My source? A study conducted by News21 and funded by the Carnegie and Knight Foundations (published August 12, 2012).

    June 30, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Dan5404t

    We all know the GOP, especially the Tea Party House will do exaxtly as they have for five years...nothing The only way they can come up with to win an election is by gerrymandering and restricting minority votes. Too bad they have no policies that enough people will vote fr. The party of No and regression just doubles down on making themselves useless to America.

    June 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. amacd385

    Think carefully about what I am about to say.

    The Supreme Court said now in 2013 that essentially the old and antiquated 1965 Voting Rights Act of way back in 1965 is no longer necessary because things have changed, it's no longer necessary, and that it is actually restrictive of progress.

    Now recall that Phil Gramm, Bill Clinton, Congress and the SEC said in 1999 that the old antiquated Glass Steagall Act of way back in 1933 was no longer necessary because things have changed, it's no longer necessary, and that such protections against another Great Depression were both restrictive of the modern market and would slow progress.

    Think about what happened when that old antiquated Glass Steagall Act was removed - and only 9 years later we had a second Great Crash, house prices tanked, and millions were unemployed.

    Now think what could happen 9 years after the old unnecessary Voting Rights Act is killed. Will some American citizens lose their right to vote? Will they only be African Americans? Are you sure that this is not the beginning of a well laid out plan by the ruling Empire to reduce the voting rights of everyone? Of your voting rights?

    Fool me once shame on them -- Fool me twice shame on us!!!

    June 30, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. just me

    Voter fraud? Practically non existent. But here in texas voter suppression is a full time occupation. They don't even bother to try to disguise it. The repubs will never address this issue unless it's to gut the VRA completely. They know their time has passed, but they'll try desperately to hold onto their fading power

    June 30, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. S. B. Stein

    The problem is that we need a way for all citizens to vote and encourage them to do so. This requirement to have all people show ID is silly because they should have done something like that when they registered. It would be fairly easy to have the photos from the driver licence in with the books that people sign in when they vote.

    June 30, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  24. Michael Benjamin

    Another mess that can be rightfully laid at the feet of Congress. They were warned by the SCOTUS conservative majority they had issues with the current law and Congress ignored that warning. This is a perfect example of an activist court that conservatives rally against. But in this instance they are probably happy with the outcome. Voting rights abuses continued in the 2012 elections and will become worse with this ruling. There were provisions in the law to opt out of federal supervision if that jurisdiction could prove they were no longer in violation of the statute. The SCOTUS should not have struck down this law.

    June 30, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. J Harris

    Goodlatte has nothing to gain like many Republicans by revisiting the Voting Rights Act. His congressional district number 6 in Virginia is 86% white, 11% black and overwhelming votes Republican anyway. The average Republican congressional district is 75% white. This action by the SCOTUS is a consequence of the events and changes in the electorate and election results: The country elected an African American president from the Democrat Party, minority share of the electorate increased tremendously since 2006, Republicans perform poorly among black/Latino voters, and African Americans votes at a much higher percentage than whites. They are looking at this and saying, there is no need for a Voting Rights Act and discrimination is not a problem. No harm no foul.

    June 30, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
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