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Voting Rights

             The Thernstroms discuss the legitimacy of the Voting Rights Act and the .
             provisions that followed its implementation. Having suffered through three revisions, the authors argue that the Voting Rights Act became less of an effort of enfranchisement, and more of an effort towards ensuring black leadership in the government. They claim that the Voting Rights Act lost the moral clarity that it once had in the 1960s. The main conflict within the Voting Rights Act is whether or not the right to vote was included with the right to representation. Again, the Thernstroms feel that civil rights pessimism - the belief that racism remained pervasive and undiminished- had blinded voting rights advocates to a changed America".
             The rewriting of Section 5 within the Voting Rights Act gave blacks power that was not initially intended. The provision placed the burden on the jurisdiction to prove the racial neutrality of its actions beyond a doubt. Districting and other voting-related changes became subject to federal veto if discrimination was suspected. Now there was a creation of unprecedented majority black districts drawn mainly to ensure racial neutrality. The Thernstroms argued that these provisions entitled blacks to an unfair advantage over their white counterparts by ensuring them Congressional seats. The Justice Departments erroneous interpretation of the law, the Thernstroms follow, took minority candidates out of the "rough and tumble world of politics" by ensuring minority office holding. Blacks now had an advantage over white candidates; whites were not always assured that they would have representation in Congress. .
             They continued with their analysis of Section 2, which questioned whether or not there was a standard to the "adequacy of representation" within congressional districts. It asked the courts to measure electoral inequality in voting districts. Congress rejected a head count of blacks holding public office as a means of assessing the measure of discrimination, but saw an increase in the number of majority-black single member districts as a remedy.

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