Money & politics -- a new resource
GovTrack Insider reports: A long-standing constitutional debate, dating to at least the 1960s in its current form, resurfaced Tuesday afternoon in the House Judiciary Committeeâ€™s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Do statesâ€™ rights supersede the imperative for substantive equal protection under the law? Following the Civil Rights movement, it has been generally accepted that civil rights are more important in all but conservative activist circles. But when applied to laws denying the vote to ex-offenders, the issue has not been so simple.
The backdrop for this debate was a new bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, H.R. 3335: Democracy Restoration Act of 2009 (“to secure the Federal voting rights of persons who have been released from incarceration”). Since Congress is understood to have general jurisdiction to be able to set the guidelines for the election of federal candidates, it naturally can prevent states from placing obstacles to voting designed to disenfranchise a particular racial, ethnic, or economic group.
The effect of state laws denying voting rights to ex-felons is disproportionately harmful to African-Americans, said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA3). Scott, a co-sponsor of the bill, chaired the subcommittee hearing (in the place of longtime New York City Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY8), who did not attend for reasons not openly evident). Scott added that such effects are so detrimental as to effectively disenfranchise entire African-American communities. Indeed, according to Scott, the amount of African-Americans without the right to vote is seven times the average for Caucasians. -- Read the whole article --> H.R. 3335 addresses one person one ... - GovTrack Insider