Clyburn Statement on Introduction of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014

Jan 17, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement on the introduction of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014:

“Upon signing the 1982 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, President Reagan called the right to vote ‘the crown jewel of American liberties’ and pledged that ‘no barrier will come between our citizens and the voting booth.’ The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 is an important step toward renewing our commitment to President Reagan’s pledge in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Shelby County v. Holder.

"As Members of Congress, we have a unique responsibility—a constitutional obligation—to combat ongoing discrimination by protecting the right to a meaningful vote and ensuring equal access to the ballot box. Chief Justice Roberts challenged the Congress to come up with a different preclearance coverage formula in the Shelby County decision and acknowledged that it is fully within the power of Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 is an appropriate exercise of this constitutional power that rightfully reflects the special place voting rights hold in our democracy.

"To be clear, this is not the bill I would have written if it were solely up to me. Although I have some reservations about a formula that does not immediately cover all the states that have long histories of voter suppression and intimidation, I do believe it is an appropriate first step in addressing the concerns raised by the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.”