In 2006, congressional Republicans hastily approved — and President Bush signed — a reauthorization of Section 5 that made the law even more burdensome. Those new burdens were not lost on the Supreme Court today:
Those extraordinary and unprecedented features were reauthorized — as if nothing had changed. In fact, the Act’s unusual remedies have grown even stronger. When Congress reauthorized the Act in 2006, it did so for another 25 years on top of the previous 40 — a far cry from the initial five-year period.
The 2006 reauthorization was a shady deal between Republicans and the racialist left: Republicans thought it would buy them peace and safely racially gerrymandered seats. Today, the Supreme Court repeatedly cited the 2006 deal as a reason to strike down the law. Some congressional Republicans have vowed to “fix” the coverage formula after any Supreme Court decision. Among them are Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WS):
When asked if Republicans have the political will to act if the VRA is struck down, Sensenbrenner told Salon: “I’m gonna make them fix it.”
There’s only one problem with his promise: the Supreme Court left almost no room to “fix” anything. Only in “exceptional circumstances” may the federal government have power to preclear state-election law changes. “Exceptional circumstances” is a term pulled from the jurisprudence to describe conditions blacks faced in 1964.
Anyone with any sense knows those days are gone.
Congressional Republicans should ignore the inevitable slurs from the racialist Left and find better things to do besides “fix” a law that the Supreme Court has found to be mostly unfixable and which has upset the constitutional order for the last couple of decades.