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Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders on Thursday denounced Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, saying his vote would be a threat to voting rights — pointing to the South Carolina voter ID law he voted to uphold.

Why it matters:

"If you look at what has happened just over the last few years at the Supreme Court with the closely divided decisions on issues that deeply [affect] the rights and protections of African Americans, you will understand why this moment is so important for us."
— Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

What happened: Advocates highlighted Kavanaugh's refusal to answer Sen. Kamala Harris during Wednesday's confirmation hearing on whether he thinks Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is constitutional.

Think Progress reports that Kavanaugh sought to downplay the significance of the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling, which invalidated a key VRA provision that had long required states with a history of racial discrimination to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws.

Flashback: The Obama administration had blocked the South Carolina law, saying it would disenfranchise thousands of black voters and violate the VRA. But the state, arguing it would deter voter fraud, sought approval from a federal court.

  • Kavanaugh wrote in a 2012 opinion that it "does not have a discriminatory retrogressive effect" and "was not enacted for a discriminatory purpose."
  • However, he delayed its implementation ahead of the 2012 elections, acknowledging that "[t]here is too much of a risk to African-American voters for us to roll the dice."

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.

2 hours ago - Health

Contact tracing fizzles across America

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States across the country are scaling back their contact tracing efforts, often focusing on vulnerable communities and relying more on Americans to alert close contacts themselves after testing positive for COVID.

Why it matters: As vaccines have become available, the virus has become more infectious and life has slowly headed more toward normal, health officials have come to view contact tracing as a relatively inefficient use of resources.