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That Bad Voting Bill Is Still Bad

Predictably, the Left has tried to use the Selma anniversary, along with the Oscars, to push its very bad amendments to the Voting Rights Act. Thankfully, there does not seem to be much interest, and rightly so. 

No new legislation is needed. The Supreme Court decision that the bill supposedly addresses struck down only one provision in the Voting Rights Act, because it was indeed unjustified and outdated; there are plenty of other voting-rights laws available to ensure that the right to vote is not violated. And indeed there is no shortage of lawsuits being filed. If plaintiffs can prove their case, they can and should win, but the point is that they should have to prove their case — a requirement the amendments would eliminate.

In many other important respects, too, the bill that has been drafted is bad legislation. For example, it does not protect all races equally from discrimination; it contains much that has nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s decision; and it itself violates the Constitution by using a “disparate impact” approach and prohibiting practices that are not actually racially discriminatory but only have racially disproportionate effects.

And despite the disingenuous claims of its proponents, the bill is also not really bipartisan. At Senate hearings last year, it was clear that no Republican would favor it, because it is designed to give a partisan advantage to the Left. There are still no Republican sponsors in the Senate, and only a handful of misguided Republican sponsors in the House.

Here’s a piece on this bad bill I wrote for National Review Online last year, just before those hearings; the last paragraph has links to a number of other pieces that spell out just how bad this bill is.

The Los Angeles Times published my letter making these points last week, by the way.

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The Washington Times reports that a high-school principal in Oak Park, Illinois, is stubbornly standing by his decision to hold an event for black students only, so that they could safely discuss race issues without the presence of white people. Principal Nathaniel Rouse hosted a “Black Lives Matter” event exclusively for black students last month. He says he hopes to have similar events for whites, Hispanics, and Asians, and then a school-wide event. 

So, the way to fight racism is to underscore racial differences by having segregated events premised on the inability of different racial groups to deal respectfully and honestly with each other — I get it.

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been on a well-deserved losing streak lately, and that streak continues now with a good decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, discussed here. The case involves the EEOC’s disparate-impact challenge to a company’s use of criminal background checks.

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I’ve noted from time to time the misguided approach to civil-rights enforcement in school discipline by the Obama administration, namely its use of the “disparate impact” approach, equating racial disproportions to discrimination.  Recently there was an excellent article in the New York Post on the results of this nonsense — read it here

The particular agency at fault, by the way, if the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights — which is the same agency for which the administration has requested a 31 percent budget increase!  Read all about that here

And — last point on this — even liberal Representative Joe Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) et al. were pushing for only a 5 percent increase.