Sep 6, 2018

Black Caucus says Kavanaugh nomination is threat to voting rights

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

White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

New Yorker wearing a homemade face covering. Photo: Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House announced that the CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said at a press briefing on Friday — emphasizing the guidance is "voluntary."

Why it matters: The use of face coverings could stop people who have the virus, whether they have symptoms or not, from spreading it further when they go out in public.

Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

President Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil, in the wake of rock-bottom prices and an ensuing economic collapse of the sector itself.

Driving the news: Trump’s comments came Friday during a televised portion of a meeting he hosted with industry CEOs to discuss ways to help the sector. It’s reeling from a historic drop-off in demand with the world shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,083,084 — Total deaths: 58,243 — Total recoveries: 225,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 266,671 — Total deaths: 6,921 — Total recoveries: 9,445Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  4. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.