Join us in a conversation with Ken Blackwell, former mayor of Cincinnati and former Ohio secretary of state.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 12 p.m. (ET)
Dial 667-776-9181 (no code needed)
Although there’s now a good chance that the sweeping, unconstitutional “For the People Act” won’t make it through the Senate, thanks to opposition by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), Democrats are pushing another effort to skew elections in their favor.
“The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” would reverse the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. If enacted, it would give leftwing political apparatchiks in the Justice Department control over state election rules. At this time, Sen. Manchin supports the proposal.
The Court rightly ruled in Shelby that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional because it was based on outdated data. States and cities that once used Jim Crow laws to discourage blacks from voting have not done so for years, and no longer need to be singled out for federal scrutiny. The rest of the Act still powerfully protects voting rights across the board. By the way, Republicans voted in greater percentages for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, than Democrats.
Here’s a summary of the current situation by Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation:
“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is probably one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. It helped eliminate the widespread discriminatory practices that were preventing African Americans from registering and voting in the 1960s. There are no longer any such barriers or practices that block black Americans (or anyone else) from registering and voting, despite the mythical claims of “voter suppression” promulgated by the Left. In the 2012 presidential election, for example, blacks voted at a higher rate than whites nationally (66.2 percent vs. 64.1 percent), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The main provision of the VRA is Section 2, which prohibits any voting “standard, practice or procedure . . . which results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” or membership in certain language-minority groups. It is permanent, applies nationwide, and can be enforced by the Justice Department as well as private parties. It was also completely unaffected by the Shelby County decision and remains in full force today. But the Left loved Section 5 because of the central role played in its enforcement by its friends and political allies in the career ranks of the Civil Rights Division, many of whom were hired from the ACLU, the NAACP and other groups allied with the Democratic Party. They could easily refuse to preclear any voting change opposed by the Left—such as Voter ID laws—without having to go to court with a Section 2 lawsuit, where they would have to prove that a law was discriminatory.
“The Supreme Court ruled that Section 5 was unconstitutional because it had not been updated in 2006 to reflect modern conditions. The Supreme Court said, ‘History did not end in 1965, . . . yet the coverage formula that Congress reauthorized in 2006 . . . ke[pt] the focus on decades-old data relevant to decades-old problems, rather than current data reflecting current needs.’”
The Democrats now want to turn back the clock and re-establish an outmoded piece of law that would enable leftists to manipulate elections to their advantage.
What should be done to stop it?
Ken Blackwell is co-author, with Ken Klukowski, of “Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.”
Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council.
He is a national bestselling author of two other books: “Rebuilding America: A Prescription For Creating Strong Families, Building The Wealth Of Working People, And Ending Welfare,” and “The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.”
He serves on the board of directors of various high-profile organizations including The Timothy Plan, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the United States Air Force Academy Foundation, the Club for Growth, Grove City College, the National Rifle Association, First Liberty Institute, the National World War II Museum, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and the American Constitutional Rights Union. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Board of Advisors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
Mr. Blackwell has had a vast political career. He was mayor of Cincinnati, treasurer and secretary of state for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He was a delegate to the White House Summit on Retirement Savings in 1998 and 2002. During the 1990s, he served on the congressionally appointed National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform and the board of the International Republican Institute. He was co-chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board from 1999-2001.
Ken has received many awards and honors for his work in the public sector. These accolades include the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award for his work in the field of human rights, which he received from the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2004, the American Conservative Union honored Mr. Blackwell with the John M. Ashbrook Award for his steadfast conservative leadership.
Ken’s commentaries have been published in major newspapers and websites, including: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily. He has been interviewed by many media outlets including CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and Fox News Sunday.
His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. Mr. Blackwell has also received honorary doctoral degrees from 10 institutions of higher education. He has Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University in Ohio, where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted into Xavier’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
Ken is married to Rosa, and they have three grown children.
Please join us for this important and stimulating discussion.