“The denial of this sacred right [to vote] is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1957. Now, on January 18, 2021 — one day after we celebrated King’s birthday and one year after a mob of right-wing Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election — the Senate is debating voting rights legislation aimed at stopping voter suppression. But the legislation appears doomed to failure.
The right to vote is “preservative of all rights,” the Supreme Court said in 1886 in the case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins. The Constitution mentions the right to vote in five separate places — the 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments, each of which empowers Congress to enact “appropriate legislation” to enforce the protected right. Yet right-wingers — enabled by congressional Republicans and reactionary members of the Supreme Court — are mounting a full-court press to prevent marginalized groups from voting.Read more Read On