I was fortunate enough to meet and spend some quality time with Rep. Keith Ellison at Netroots Nation last week. I came away liking and admiring him even more than I had previously, which is saying something. He's an awfully nice guy, sharp, and a creative thinker with plenty of ideas on how to get things done in Washington.
I know, I know, "getting things done in Washington" is an oxymoron.
But that won't stop Keith E. Why, look, here's a creative idea now!
The Supreme Court crippled voting rights this week by striking down a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Mark Pocan have introduced a Constitutional amendment that reverses the Court decision and invalidates voter suppression laws. Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor.
SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.
SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.
Rep. Ellison and Rep. Pocan will use your citizen signatures to lobby members of Congress - we'll keep them updated on how many people have signed. We'll also inform the media that the public is fighting back.
Do your thing, voters... lobby Congress. Sign. Take action. Fight back. Here's a chance to try to DO something...
...besides thanking Keith Ellison, I mean.
Just for good measure, today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices really do matter:
The decision to effectively invalidate the Voting Rights Act is the Roberts court's most hypocritical ruling.
The Supreme Court's conservative justices have said that nine unelected judges should not overrule the voters' elected representatives unless the Constitution demands it. Here, the court threw out a 98-0 Senate vote in 2006 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, thousands of pages of congressional voting rights research and almost 50 years of effective legislation.
Five justices state that, in their view, circumstances no longer warrant voting rights protections, ironically because the Voting Rights Act has been so effective. Millions of minority voters whose districts have been gerrymandered and whose polling places and hours have been cynically eroded in the last few years will be shocked to hear that protections are no longer needed.
So much for a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Thank goodness we have Antonin Scalia and the four other conservative justices on the Supreme Court to protect us from the "racial entitlement" of free and unfettered voting.
Now that racial discrimination has apparently been eliminated from our great nation, it's time that we stopped using the Voting Rights Act. It seems the Supreme Court believes we can now rely on the good intentions of the states that historically imposed race-based voting requirements designed to disenfranchise nonwhites.
Two hours after the Supreme Court announced its decision, Texas advanced proposals to revive its restrictive voter ID requirements and its gerrymandered districts. What wonderful news for opponents of democracy.
Of course, if there is any doubt about states' ability to protect voting rights, we can be confident that the GOP majority in the House will take action. Right?
James U. Mundy III
Conservatives see striking down a key protection of the Voting Rights Act as crucial for their chances in future elections. Instead, they ought to really look toward the future and offer an agenda the majority of Americans might get behind.
What a novel idea.