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In a Wednesday interview with Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden once again had difficulty enunciating his words and got a date wrong in a big way.
At one point, the former vice president mistakenly claimed to have campaigned for Democrats in 1918 before correcting himself.
“I got criticized for saying I’m going to campaign in states that maybe it’s going to be hard for me to win. I think I can win them, like North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, even in Texas, but I’m going to spend my life campaigning for other Democrats in 1918 — excuse me, in 2018, I campaigned for over, in 24 states for over 65 candidates.
At another point in the interview, Biden stammered in saying he would support same-day voter registration while claiming, as president, that he would arbitrarily override a U.S. Supreme Court ruling without necessary congressional input.
“As president, I’m going to restore the full Voting Rights Act. By the way, it got — in the Holder case it got — a big chunk got wiped out. Support automatic same-day voter registration,” he said.
Biden was likely referring to Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529, the landmark 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case in which a key portion of the 1965 law was declared unconstitutional during the Obama administration.
In April 2010, Shelby County, Alabama, filed suit against the federal government, naming then-Attorney General Eric Holder as the defendant, in a bid to declare Section 5 of the Act unconstitutional.
That section required jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to submit any proposed changes to voting procedures to the Justice Department or a federal court in the D.C. district before it takes effect in order to make sure the change would not be detrimental to minority voters.
In September, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., upheld Section 5, as did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. district. Shelby County appealed the case further to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case in November 2012.
Thank you @joebiden for your longtime support of the LGBTQ community. The stakes this election could not be higher, and @HRC is excited to get to work to elect you our next President. Join us in helping make history: https://t.co/RU6XZ9VfJv pic.twitter.com/JeEjP6mepy
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) May 7, 2020
In June 2013, the high court found that the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the act, which makes determinations about which districts are covered in Section 5, is unconstitutional because it’s based on an old formula.
As such, Section 5 is no longer applicable until Congress enacts a new formula, which the high court urged the Legislative Branch to do. That hasn’t occurred yet, however.
So, as a practical matter, Biden, as president, couldn’t simply order Section 5 to become operable again; he’d need Congress to approve a new formula.
That is, of course, if the Constitution and the rule of law actually matter to Biden and Democrats; recall that his running mate, President Obama, simply changed immigration law (the DACA program) with an executive order, and so far, that order still stands, though it’s on appeal now at the Supreme Court.
In any event, it seems obvious that Biden’s mental acuity continues to be a problem for him, something Democrats and the protective media don’t appear to be concerned about.
As for same-day voter registration, about half of the states already have it or some form of it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans have criticized such programs because they can lead to the registration of people who are not eligible to vote.
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