The recent primary loss by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor set off a barrage of political analysis that concluded that any large-scale overhaul of the country’s immigration laws was dead. But the ouster of Cantor (R-Va.) also upended Democratic hopes for a bill intended to counter a Supreme Court decision last year that halted several major provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Shelby v. Holder decision stalled the requirement that nine states — each with histories of racially discriminatory actions to keep minorities from voting — must submit any changes to voting procedures to the Justice Department before they can be implemented.
The court ruled the “pre-clearance provision” unconstitutional, which meant Congress must pass new legislation before it can be enforced again.
Efforts to craft a measure that would pass the House hinged on Cantor’s tacit support.
“Mr. Cantor, when we met with him, was interested. He was very interested,” said Lorraine Miller, interim president and chief executive of the NAACP. “I think he had a will to do it.”