The group blog of The New Republic

June 25, 2013

Unfair Voting Restrictions are a Nationwide Problem Now

Not that the Supreme Court's decision will fix this

Today, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which identifies the areas covered by federal preclearance under Section 5. The ruling doesn't rejigger the congressional map, since the court didn't touch the legality of minority-majority districts, and Section 5 wasn't often used to reject Southern redistricting proposals.

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Two days before Christmas in 2011, Dr. Brenda Williams, who together with her husband runs a small family-physician practice in Sumter, S.C., was on the road with him and their daughter when they got word that the U.S. Department of Justice had decided to challenge a strict new voter ID law signed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

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There has perhaps never been a more fashionable child than the five-year-old featured yesterday on New York mag’s The Cut, who—with the languidly bored face of a Brazilian supermodel—flaunts his stylishness in photo after photo: here he wears a bomber jacket and drop-crotch camouflage pants, there a Gucci belt and a blazer that looks tailored for a teddy bear, or a pair of combat boots and oversized shades.

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What’s in a name? Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leaks to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman have reignited a debate that last raged at this temperature a few years ago, when WikiLeaks disclosed the Bradley Manning trove. Namely: What is a “journalist”—who is one?

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In his statement that he won't be handing over Jason Bourne-impersonator Edward Snowden to the Americans, Russian President Vladimir Putin said something that made that record-scratching halt! sound in the brains of most English-speakers who heard it. "In any case, I would not like to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig," Putin said. "There's lots of squealing, and little fleece." 

Okay, so Putin doesn't want to shear a pig—great? Poor, relieved pig? And: what?

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If you were hoping for any one issue to dominate the political conversation this week, then your timing was off. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on affirmative action; today, it ruled on the Voting Rights Act. Last night, a border security bill that paves the way for immigration reform received 67 votes in the Senate. Edward Snowden has gone off the radar somewhere in Moscow. Still, the Supreme Court could rule on gay marriage, and there’s a special election tonight in Massachusetts.

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Obama will not announce his plans to regulate the emissions of existing power plants until his Tuesday afternoon speech at Georgetown University.

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June 24, 2013

It’s shaping up as a pretty big news week. The Senate is voting on immigration reform, the Supreme Court is handing down potentially historic decisions, the George Zimmerman trial is getting underway, and, somewhere on the planet, Edward Snowden is making a run for it.

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When Edward Snowden revealed the scope of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs earlier this month, he seemed more than comfortable speaking for himself.

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Over the weekend, Jennifer Steinhauer reported an interesting development in The New York Times about the new math in our nation's capital: the failure of the farm bill to pass the House after 62 conservative Republicans voted against a bill supported by their own leadership (and supported by many Democrats until House Republicans larded up the Senate's bill with various liberal unpalatables, such as more than $20 billion in food stamp "savings").

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