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Congress Voting Rights Act Power Is In Constitution, Agreement From Gingrich To Ginsberg, Report Robert Weiner And Richard Mann


WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National issues strategist Robert Weiner, a former White House spokesman and senior staff for three House Committee Chairmen, and senior policy analyst Richard Mann are saying that the power of Congress to enact and extend the Voting Rights Act is explicitly in the Constitution.  In an article in the Michigan Chronicle today, they report that there is widespread agreement on the congressional constitutional power over the Act from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg to congressional leaders with jurisdiction, according to interviews they conducted. Weiner and Mann directly challenge the accuracy of a constitutional omission by Justice Scalia, who stated that "This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress," despite the Constitution's specific citation of the congressional power, and argue that if the Court cuts down the Voting Rights Act, Congress should reenact it.  The Michigan Chronicle has six times in the last twelve years been named the nation's best African American newspaper by the National Newspaper Association.

Weiner and Mann explain, "In the oral debate over cutting down the power of the Voting Rights Act – the law designed to assure enforcement of no discrimination against minorities' right to vote – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated last month, 'This is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.' He called the bill, 'perpetuation of racial entitlement.' He added, 'It is very difficult to get out ... through the normal political process.'"  The Court could make a decision as early as June, Weiner and Mann state.

They assert that "the Justice apparently missed that the 15 th Amendment to the Constitution states, 'The right of citizens to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.'"  They point out that "the extremely significant next sentence of the 15 th Amendment states, 'The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.'"

Weiner and Mann report that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was recently asked if Congress has the power to enact and amend the Voting Rights Act.  She responded, "Yes, it's there in the 14 th and 15 th Amendments."  To assure she meant the directness of her answer, she was asked if people are just wrong to say Congress does not have the power.  She repeated, "It's in the 14 th and 15 th Amendments."

Weiner asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich last week if he still believes the Constitution gives Congress the power, since he had presided over and voted for extensions of the Voting Rights Act, and he said "Yes."  Gingrich asked what Scalia's reasoning was to question it, and "we told him about Justice Scalia's assertion that Congress was politically pandering."  They report that "Gingrich, unfazed, responded, 'All the Founding Fathers won elections and understood that – they all were elected.'"  Weiner and Mann add,  "One may often disagree with Gingrich's policies and politics, but as a congressional and constitutional historian, he is informed."

Weiner and Mann contend, "It's not as though discrimination is dead and we no longer need the Voting Rights Act.  In our time, in the 2012 election, thirty-seven states attempted voter suppression of minorities by targeted ID requirements and reduced hours to vote.  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is Congress's way to stop the undemocratic shenanigans denying minorities the vote." 

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