To honor John Lewis, pass Vot­ing Rights Bill

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

The great­est trib­ute that could be paid to Con­gress­man John Lewis: Pass the vot­ing rights bill now be­fore the U.S. Se­nate (“U.S. Se­nate should pass new Vot­ing Rights Act in honor of John Lewis,” July 21).

Why do we need this bill? The Supreme Court gut­ted the en­force­ment pro­vi­sion of the Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965, which re­quired states with a his­tory of vot­ing rights vi­o­la­tions to get pre­clear­ance from the De­part­ment of Jus­tice be­fore adopt­ing changes to their vot­ing laws or prac­tices.

In dis­sent, Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg wrote, “Throw­ing out pre­clear­ance when it has worked and is con­tin­u­ing to work to stop dis­crim­i­na­tory changes is like throw­ing away your um­brella in a rain­storm be­cause you are not get­ting wet.”

H. R. 4, the Vot­ing Rights Ad­vance­ment Act of 2019, passed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on De­cem­ber 6, 2019. The only ac­tion taken on H.R. 4 by the Se­nate has been to re­fer it to the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

Per­haps Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Lind­sey Gra­ham will be moved by this state­ment from a col­league on the pass­ing of Con­gress­man Lewis.

“I will never for­get join­ing hands with John as mem­bers of Congress sang We Shall Over­come at a 2008 cer­e­mony hon­or­ing his friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It could not have been more hum­bling to con­sider what he had suf­fered and sac­ri­ficed so those words could be sung in that place.”

Who of­fered those words? Sen. Mitch McCon­nell.

Del­e­gate Sa­muel I. “Sandy” Rosen­berg, Baltimore

The writer is the Mary­land state del­e­gate for 41st leg­isla­tive district in Baltimore City.

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