Memo to the people

As I listened to Majority Whip James Clyburn and Congresswoman Nikema Williams discuss efforts by Congress to reinstate voting rights through the Voting Rights Act, I am reminded of the hypocrisy of the claims of judicial restraint that have emanated from the right-wing for several decades now.

Mr. Clyburn is rightly emphasizing that when the Congress acts again it must carefully anticipate these so-called judicial conservatives on the Court and their penchant to engage in pure judicial activism.

Indeed, despite the constitutional authority granted Congress by section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court has seen fit to strike down portions of the VRA, including pre-clearance of voting laws that abridge such rights, based on its view that Congress failed to act in manner that was “congruent and proportional” to its power.

If you ask me to define the terms “congruent and proportional,” I cannot. Neither can the Court.

But if a novel idea such as “equal dignity” of the States is also thrown in, it argues for leaving the Congress helpless to address the kinds of voter suppression practices that we now see freshly enacted in Georgia.

Thus, expect the Congress to seek to pass legislation which covers the entire Nation.

And also expect that the hypocrisy of judicial restraint will raise its head in a manner “congruent and proportional” to the extent that Congress acts to redress these new state-based enactments which hamper access to the vote — no matter how comprehensive the law and no matter how extensive the legislative record supporting the new law.

-Albert Turner Goins

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