RE JOAN VENNOCHI’S column “Progress, regress” (Op-ed, June 27):
I’m baffled by the refrain, repeated by Vennochi and others, against the ruling that struck down that part of Voting Rights Act tailored to the electoral conditions of 1972. How can those who call themselves “progressives” still assert that nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed about race relations since the data used in the act were gathered? For a sense of exactly how outdated the data are, consider this: The information was compiled when Ed Markey was running for the state House of Representatives.
Progressives like to bash conservatives for relying on faith or superstition rather than science and data. But there are plenty of data cited by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, detailing the progress made in the voter participation of blacks and whites in pre-clearance states. Vennochi does not even mention this evidence; instead, she accuses Roberts of sleeping through “the saga of celebrity chef Paula Deen.” The Voting Rights Act was designed to guarantee the right to vote, not to eliminate celebrity racism.
The timeless parts of the law left in place still seek to protect the franchise of all Americans, everywhere in the country. The law has worked, and commentators like Vennochi have failed to explain why yesterday’s ruling will reverse its success.