The Great Debate

Think we don’t need to update the Voting Rights Act? Check out Tuesday’s primaries.

By Janai S. Nelson
June 25, 2014

mahurin-for-troutt--- nelson

The door is open for Congress to repair the nation’s most transformative election law, which was neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago today.

Roberts Court: Easier to donate, harder to vote

By Elizabeth B. Wydra
April 4, 2014

Chief Justice John Roberts’ first sentence of his majority opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, striking down important limits on campaign contributions, declares “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

Democrats: It’s the states, stupid (Part 2)

By Herman Schwartz
October 29, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

Since the government shutdown, public opinion of the Republican Party has hit a new low. Yet the Democrats might not be able to gain from it. Despite the GOP’s fall from grace — and even if they suffer a lower vote count in the 2014 midterm elections — the Republicans might still control the House of Representatives and many state legislatures after the polls close.

King’s deferred ‘Dream’ of democracy

By Janai S. Nelson
August 28, 2013

In the midst of current retrenchments on voting rights, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech provides an important opportunity to consider whether his “dream” has been realized. Or, is it now, in the words of the famous poet Langston Hughes, a “dream deferred.”

Renewing voting rights — with Roberts in mind

By Ari Melber
July 16, 2013

Should Congress accept Chief Justice John Roberts’ invitation?

Roberts, in his dramatic voting rights ruling last month, said Congress has a duty to update Jim Crow-era civil rights laws for a post-Jim Crow world. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court basically found that Congress committed an unforced error by renewing the Voting Rights Act without updating its formula for patrolling discrimination against voters.

Democrats: It’s the states, stupid!

By Herman Schwartz
July 14, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

Unless the Democrats wake up to the importance of winning state legislative elections, they are likely to remain a largely impotent minority in the House of Representatives and equally feeble in the state legislatures. The momentous Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act, same-sex marriage and affirmative action make winning these races all the more vital, for all these rulings deal with state action. The huge Republican victory in the 2010 election could turn out to be a gift that keeps giving.

Why did court treat two minorities so differently?

By Bill Schneider
June 28, 2013

Gays win, blacks lose. That’s the upshot of this week’s landmark Supreme Court decisions.

The cost of America’s first black president

By Janai S. Nelson
June 28, 2013

President Barack Obama addresses supporters at his election night victory rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

The Supreme Court’s race impatience

By David Dante Troutt
June 28, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

As Tuesday’s decision gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act made clear, it is June and a slim conservative majority of Supreme Court justices is again impatient with race.

Gutting the landmark civil rights legislation

By Morgan Kousser
June 26, 2013

 

The Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision on Tuesday essentially cast aside the key component of the nation’s most important civil rights legislation.