Convinced that the right to vote for all citizens isn’t fully protected under law, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, is planning a long-shot proposal to add a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. “What it would do is grant for the first time in American history a constitutional right to vote,” Cooper said Wednesday after announcing the proposal at a Nashville Bar Association luncheon during a strikingly personal speech that evoked race, discrimination and equality. “Many people think we have this already,” he said. “We do not. Some states have a right to vote. But we do not have it nationwide.”
Cooper said he’s working with congressional colleagues on drafting the amendment, which he predicted could be introduced in “weeks or months.” He cited new “barriers to voting” nationwide, calling it a “high probability” that recent voter-identification laws passed in several states, including Tennessee, would not be constitutional were this amendment to exist.
“My text for the 28th Amendment could not be simpler,” he said. “‘The right of adult citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State.’
“The enduring principle here is a judge would subject any restriction of voting to the harshest possible scrutiny.”