As the Supreme Court prepares to possibly overturn a key section of the Voting Rights Act, many of the Republican senators who voted for reauthorization of that bill — it passed on a 98-0 vote — are refusing to say whether they think it’s constitutional.
“Uh,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), before a long, awkward pause, “I haven’t even thought about it.” He laughed and said, “I’ll leave that to the courts. I’m having a hard enough time being a senator, much less a Supreme Court justice.”
I asked the same question to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who, like Graham, voted to renew the law in 2006. “The Voting Rights Act?” he asked. Yes, I said. Should it be upheld? “Oh, I don’t know,” Inhofe replied. “I’ll let someone else answer that.”…
“I haven’t — I’m worried about other things,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), nodding his head as he entered an elevator.
I asked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who was exiting a conference meeting and walking into the same senators-only elevator, if the law should be upheld. “Uh, I’m not…” he said. As the elevator door closed, he shrugged his shoulders.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a former leadership member who also voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, similarly declined to answer.
“No, I am not going to try to be a Supreme Court [justice] and senator at the same time,” he told reporters. Is it constitutional? “That’s the question before the Supreme Court.”
And it goes on and on like that with many others, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte, John Boozman, and Roy Blunt. If they agree that it’s unconstitutional, why did they all vote for it? And if they don’t agree, why aren’t they saying so? ThinkProgress has this quote from Sen. Lindsay Graham when he voted to pass that bill, which reauthorized the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years:
South Carolina has come a long way in the past few decades and we have a lot to be proud of. But just like every other part of the country, we still have a ways to go. I hope twenty-five years from now it can be said that there will be no need for a Voting Rights Act because things have continued to change for the better. If we continue making progress like we have in the past twenty-five years, we can make it happen.
Prepare for some serious doubletalk.