Richard A. Posner on judges, data, and consequences
The federal judge ponders data, consequences, and a decision that enabled voter suppression
“We will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that he will try to restore the Justice Department’s authority to review voting laws in Texas, the move was cheered by Democrats—and especially minority voters—who feared disenfranchisement after the Supreme Court struck down a central component of the Voting Rights Act.
One of the most frustrating discussions of 2012 was about voter identification laws. Voter ID laws seemed like they would disproportionately impact non-white, student, and elderly voters, who were widely assumed to tilt Democratic. There were big, flashy numbers about the number of registered voters without photo identification.
Retirement with dignity was denied to core provisions of the Voting Rights Act. If ever a statute rose to iconic status, a super-statute amid a world of ordinary legislation, it was the Voting Rights Act. In the course of not quite half a century, the Act was pivotal in bringing black Americans to the broad currents of political life.
Michele Bachmann’s recent announcement that she will not seek reelection to the U.S. House has already enticed half a dozen Minnesota Republicans to consider running—or officially declare—for her open seat in Minnesota's very conservative 6th Congressional District.