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GOP lawmaker vows fix to Voting Rights Act

| Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

A former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said on Monday he will try to replace the portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this summer.

“The first thing we have to do is take the monkey wrench that the court threw in it out of the Voting Rights Act, and then use that monkey wrench to be able to fix it so that it is alive, well, constitutional and impervious to another challenge that will be filed by the usual suspects,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., at a March on Washington 50th anniversary event hosted by the Republican National Committee.

Sensenbrenner's comments were first reported Monday by The Washington Post. The lawmaker said he hopes to have a legislative fix in place by the end of the year.

Sensenbrenner was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2006 when the law was reauthorized by Congress.

The high court in June struck down a coverage formula that Congress used to monitor Southern states with a history of racial discrimination. The ruling essentially freed states and municipalities with this kind of history from having to clear changes with the Justice Department in the way they vote.

After the decision, GOP state legislatures in Texas and North Carolina have pushed forward with new Voter ID laws that would otherwise have been subject to preclearance. The Justice Department is suing Texas over its law.

In an op-ed column for USA Today in July, Sensenbrenner said any legislative fix to the law “must be politically palatable and comply with the court's interpretation of the Constitution. It will require extensive legal expertise and political input, as this is not an easy puzzle to solve.”

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