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On MSNBC, Cooper Defends Case for Reforming Voting Rights Act

After former deputy attorney general Julie Fernandes explained her ideal interpretation of the Voting Rights Act is addressing “what does the minority community want?” and how can supposed inherently disfranchised groups “have a political voice,” Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper called such thinking irrelevant to the proper administration of equal rights as was envisioned by the law’s authors.

Also, responding to The Nation’s Ari Berman’s charge that the case against the Act lacks popular support and is the product of a mythical “conservative-industrial complex,” Horace replied: “[I]f we left litigation only to circumstances where it was popular, most of the landmark litigation that we see and we appreciate today would never take place.”

Horace further pointed out that voter ID — something opposed by everyone else on the panel and a target of Obama Administration using the Voting Rights Act’s “preclearance” provisions — is wildly popular with the majority of Americans of pretty much every demographic.  This defies the logic put forth by the other panelists.

This discussion occurred on the 2/23/13 edition of the MSNBC program “Up with Chris Hayes.”

In the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Eric Holder, to be argued before the Court on 2/27/13, the justices are asked to determine if the preclearance standards found in Section 5 of the law that target selective states and localities for scrutiny now — based on civil rights movement-era bad behavior — is still constitutional.


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