The Republican Party is in danger of reaping what it has sown. Much has been written about the GOP’s problem with minority voters. Quite simply, the party has managed to alienate every nonwhite constituency in the nation. This is not an accidental or sudden phenomenon. Ever since Republicans chose almost 50 years ago to pursue a Southern strategy, to embrace and promote white voters’ opposition to civil rights, the party has been on a path toward self-segregation. Successive Republican administrations have pursued agendas that included retreating on civil rights enforcement and opposing government programs that increase minority opportunity. That steady progression culminated in Mitt Romney’s disastrous showing among African-American, Latino and Asian voters. Now, even as Republican leaders are openly lamenting that the party is doomed unless it can reverse its downward spiral with minority voters, the Supreme Court has announced that it would hear Shelby County v. Holder next month — the latest challenge to the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Clear-eyed GOP strategists must have cringed with recognition that the five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices are threatening to put the final nail in the party’s coffin.
Put bluntly, if the court’s Republican majority strikes down this recently reauthorized, core provision of the Voting Rights Act — the most effective and revered of all civil rights statutes — the backlash will likely ensure that Republican presidential candidates will struggle for a generation to win more than a handful of minority votes. The specter of justices appointed by the Republican Party joining in the effort to suppress minority votes will likely ignite a new movement among minorities and their allies to protect the franchise against GOP attack.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires that jurisdictions with a record of voting transgressions subjected the law must obtain pre-clearance for any change in election rules from either the Justice Department or a three-judge court in Washington, D.C. This requirement grew out of the inability of litigation to address many jurisdictions’ determined efforts to prevent African-Americans from voting. The Justice Department’s best attempts in suing to enforce the 15th Amendment, which prohibits denial of the vote based on race, proved inadequate.
Because of local jurisdictions’ lack of cooperation and, in some instances, the recalcitrance of racist judges, individual cases proved time-consuming and expensive to pursue. Frustratingly, even when plaintiffs won an order blocking one tactic for disenfranchisement, a jurisdiction could just adopt a new method — requiring a fresh round of litigation.
Full Article: GOP v. Voting Rights Act | The Great Debate.