A divided Congress has no clear path to heed the call of Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama to legislate in response to Tuesday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision that invalidated a portion of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Reaction on Capitol Hill largely mirrored the court’s ideological divide: Democrats called for legislation to establish new formulas to determine whether states must get federal permission before instituting changes in voting practices, while Republicans were more reticent on the necessity to pass a new law. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he would convene hearings next month to see what legislative recourse Congress can take. Leahy made clear his displeasure with the Supreme Court’s action to invalidate a law most recently reauthorized in 2006 with broad bipartisan support.
“The Supreme Court listened to an hour’s argument and decided they knew better than the hundreds of members of Congress who struggled and worked over this and passed it,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he supported Leahy’s efforts. “There’s general displeasure — and that’s an understatement — in my caucus about what the Supreme Court did,” Reid said, calling it “a dark day” for the Supreme Court.
“I think it’s incumbent upon the leadership of the House and the Senate to come together to consider what can be done, what should be done and what is practical to be done,” said House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., but he acknowledged that the political climate is hostile toward compromise on contentious issues. “The Congress has not been very able to act in a bipartisan fashion. That is unfortunate.”
Full Article: Congress unlikely to act on voting rights ruling.