AN ASSAULT ON THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT
NEW YORK TIMES
The future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 now lies in the hands of President Obama and Congress. If we had a federal government that was not paralyzed by partisanship, this ruling would serve as an inspiration to take action. Congressional Democrats would quickly prepare a more expansive formula, and the Republicans who voted for the old formula just seven years ago would support the new one. President Obama quickly said he was “deeply disappointed” at the ruling and called on Congress to enact a new formula. Tragically, we cannot count on either legislative action or strong follow-through from the White House.
SUPREME COURT CAN’T STOP DEMOGRAPHICS
The court is, of course, right in one observation: These days, attempts to disenfranchise African Americans and other minorities are not limited to the South. Burdensome voter ID laws and other restrictions are being imposed in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arizona. And yes, there are scads of black elected officials in Mississippi. But most violations of the Voting Rights Act still take place in the states of the old Confederacy. The solution should have been to expand the map of jurisdictions required to seek pre-clearance from the federal government for changes in election laws — rather than erase the map altogether
ROBERT’S CYNICAL TREATMENT OF MLK IN VOTING RULING
Inside the chamber, the justices had a late-session listlessness that seemed at odds with the significance of the moment. Stephen Breyer yawned. Anthony Kennedy stared at the ceiling. Sonia Sotomayor sipped a drink and Antonin Scalia rocked in his chair. Ginsburg, though, was steely as she scolded the majority for their conservative activism. “It was the judgment of Congress [in 2006] that ‘40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of disregard for the dictates of the 15th Amendment,’ ” she said from the bench. In Alabama, she said, Congress found that “there were many” barriers to minority voting rights. “They were shocking and they were recent.” History may not be as ancient as Roberts supposes.
THE CARBONATED PRESIDENT
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Mr. Obama might have at least announced his war on carbon before the election and let voters have a say. Instead he posed as the John the Baptist of fossil fuels in locales such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia—taking credit for the shale fracking boom he had nothing to do with and running ads attacking Mitt Romney as anticoal. Now safely re-elected, Mr. Obama figures he can do what he pleases. The Americans who will be harmed will have to console themselves with 99 weeks of jobless benefits, food stamps and ObamaCare.
SNOWDEN WATCH: WHY PUTIN IS LOVING IT
Whatever Putin may be saying now about not wanting to harm ”the business-like character of our relations with the U.S.,” it is evident that Russia’s foreign policy is largely shaped by its leader’s desire to meddle with America and its designs around the world. … [H]e has built his entire rise to power on the idea of resurrecting the prestige and geopolitical impact of his former employer—the USSR – if not exactly its communist system. Some Russia experts say the truth is even simpler than that: Putin is essentially still the street tough he was when he was raised in the poor section of St. Petersburg. … [H]is worldview has been mostly shaped by that upbringing and his career in the KGB, when his job was to find ways to oppose U.S. power and influence.
SNOWDEN, THROUGH THE EYES OF A SPY NOVELIST
NEW YORK TIMES
It’s hard not to see the last couple of weeks as a tragedy for Mr. Snowden — who seems to have started down this road with decent motives and is now looking at life as an exile or in prison — as well as a huge self-inflicted wound for the American intelligence community. If the masters of the apparatus were really ready to have an honest discussion about their powers, Mr. Snowden might have wound up not in Moscow, but back in Washington, his girl by his side on the Capitol steps, headed for a few years in prison and then a job with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. That would have been the Hollywood ending. Real life is tougher.