"Character, not circumstance, makes the person." -- Booker T. Washington
The Supreme Court's narrow 5-4 decision to strike down a central component of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, "freeing nine states, mostly in the South," writes the New York Times, "to change their election laws without advance federal approval," is a welcome recognition that times have changed and that especially Southern states must not forever bear a "mark of Cain" for past discrimination against racial minorities.
Reaction from "civil rights groups" and liberal media outlets was predictable. Writing in the Washington Post, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) accused the Court of plunging "a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act." It's more like removing a dagger from the back of nine states and numerous counties, including Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.
The conservative Project 21 black leadership network, which was largely ignored by the media, had a different reaction. It maintains, "increased fairness" had accompanied "evolving racial opinions of the American people" and thus the Voting Rights Act, as written, is no longer necessary.
Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said, "This ruling recognizes that people can change, that America has changed and that a law that presupposes guilt must be reformed to reflect the beauty of human nature."
Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, said the law was a form of "geographic profiling" and was based on "outdated stereotypes."
The New York Times reports, "The decision had immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval."
Unlike in 1965, today there are numerous anti-discrimination laws on the books. If someone can prove they were denied the right to vote based on race, legal remedies can be pursued. Selma today is not the Selma of 48 years ago. America has changed.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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