As the Supreme Court prepares to possibly overturn a key section of the Voting Rights Act, many of the Republican senators who voted for reauthorization of that bill — it passed on a 98-0 vote — are refusing to say whether they think it’s constitutional.
“Uh,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), before a long, awkward pause, “I haven’t even thought about it.” He laughed and said, “I’ll leave that to the courts. I’m having a hard enough time being a senator, much less a Supreme Court justice.”
I asked the same question to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who, like Graham, voted to renew the law in 2006. “The Voting Rights Act?” he asked. Yes, I said. Should it be upheld? “Oh, I don’t know,” Inhofe replied. “I’ll let someone else answer that.”…
“I haven’t — I’m worried about other things,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), nodding his head as he entered an elevator.
I asked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who was exiting a conference meeting and walking into the same senators-only elevator, if the law should be upheld. “Uh, I’m not…” he said. As the elevator door closed, he shrugged his shoulders.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a former leadership member who also voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, similarly declined to answer.
“No, I am not going to try to be a Supreme Court [justice] and senator at the same time,” he told reporters. Is it constitutional? “That’s the question before the Supreme Court.”
South Carolina has come a long way in the past few decades and we have a lot to be proud of. But just like every other part of the country, we still have a ways to go. I hope twenty-five years from now it can be said that there will be no need for a Voting Rights Act because things have continued to change for the better. If we continue making progress like we have in the past twenty-five years, we can make it happen.
Prepare for some serious doubletalk.