Numerous discussions regarding the Voting Rights Advancement Act have continued to swirl, though Republicans remain steadfast in their opposition. Earlier this week, the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing regarding this particular act, as well as any possible legislative reforms regarding this act.
Discussions have centered on a 2013 Supreme Court decision with regards to this act. Specifically, in the 2013 case of Shelby Counter v. Holder, the Supreme Court ultimately made the determination that the federal government does not have the requisite authority to single out specific states or particular districts for purported purposes of electoral oversight.
According to John Roberts, who serves as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, “Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes speaks to current conditions,” in reference to taking “extraordinary steps,” which can include “subjecting state legislation to pre-clearance in Washington,” especially when “applying that regime only to some disfavored states.”
Such actions can threaten the balance of power between state autonomy and the federal government, one of the chief concerns of some of the nation’s founding fathers. In addition, these actions also appear targeted at states such as Texas and Georgia, which have made a concentrated effort to reinforce voter integrity through the passage of voting reform laws.
This highly controversial act would result in bringing back a section of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in its decision. This section is known as Section Five, and it would provide the federal government with the ability to require specific states to receive approval from the federal government prior to making any changes to their voting laws.
According to Mike Johnson, a Republican Representative from Louisiana, the latest efforts from the Democrats to attempt to change the voting laws of states equates to a brazenly unconstitutional power grab. In other words, these actions comprise the federal government’s attempts to subvert states’ own autonomy with regards to its voting procedures.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) August 12, 2021
Nonetheless, Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House, has claimed that the act will pass through the house. However, Republicans in the Senate are likely to thwart Pelosi’s efforts by killing it via filibuster.