Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) found himself being repeatedly schooled by voting rights experts during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Voting rights are under attack in red states across the country as Republicans seek to rig elections in their favor through voter suppression and other blatant power grabs. The worst offenders include Texas and Georgia, both of which have passed laws designed to block thousands of Americans from casting a ballot, all in response to Donald Trump’s election lies.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is probing these discriminatory abuses in an effort to restore the full authority of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the conservative majority on the Supreme Court infamously weakened several years ago.
On Wednesday, Cruz sought to grill voting rights experts about voter I.D. laws, only to get owned by them. He began by questioning University of Southern California law school professor Franita Tolson.
“So, what voter I.D. laws are racist?” Cruz asked.
“Your state of Texas, perhaps,” Tolson quipped in response.
“OK, so you think the entire state of Texas is racist,” Cruz replied. “What about requiring an I.D. to vote is racist.”
“So, I think this is pretty reductive, sir. I didn’t say that the entire state of Texas is racist,” Tolson pointed out.
“You just said my state of Texas!” Cruz said.
“Your voter I.D. law,” Tolson said.
“The voter I.D. law is?” Cruz asked.
“Absolutely,” Tolson confirmed. “So, the fact that the voter I.D. law was put into place to diminish the power of Latinos with racist intent and was found to have racist intent.”
“What’s your evidence for that?” Cruz demanded.
“The federal district court that first resolved the intentionality of Texas’ voter I.D. law,” Tolson noted.
Indeed, people of color are disadvantaged by such laws, especially since driver’s licenses cost money, which makes it a poll tax. And red states are closing DMV offices to make it harder to obtain one.
Here’s the video via Twitter:
Hot damn, @ProfTolson. 👏🏼👏🏼pic.twitter.com/cruXZL8T0m
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) September 22, 2021
A defeated Cruz then moved on to questioning Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund President Thomas Saenz about voter I.D. laws, and the response was not any different.
“There are some voter I.D. laws that are racially discriminatory in intent,” Saenz said. “There are discriminatory effects from a number of voter I.D. laws.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice President John Yang concurred with his fellow experts, once again disappointing and embarrassing Cruz.
Democrats have already passed the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in the House. Both are being blocked by Republicans using the old Jim Crow filibuster tool. Saving democracy requires that Democrats end the filibuster immediately and push these two bills through. A majority of Americans support them. It’s time to aggressively protect the right to vote at all costs. Because if Republicans like Cruz have their way, democracy in America will end.
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