This is a chance for Holder to define his legacy as Attorney General--as something more than the guy who tried, and failed, to have Guantánamo Bay detainees tried in federal court in New York. There is a purity, a simplicity, about the voting-rights fight that is sadly absent from many modern civil-rights battles. This is not about special privileges, or quotas, or even complex mathematical formulae. It's about a basic right of American citizenship, which is being taken from large numbers of people for the most cynical of reasons. The laws are, quite literally, indefensible--so Holder ought to make the states that have them try to defend them. That would be a legacy that would make any Attorney General, and any American, proud.
I'm disappointed in how Holder has handled the drug war, but on this I agree. Actual evidence of "voter fraud" is scant to nonexistent. It's worth remembering that blacks weren't disenfranchised through a literal effort of barring blacks from voting booths (like the water-fountains or restrooms,) but through technicalities--grandfather clauses, literacy tests, property requirements etc--all of which were marshaled against the scourge of the "unqualified voter."
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