U.S. Rep. Trent Franks on Voting Rights Act: "People Say They Say Tomato, I Say Abortion"

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Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, who has a lot of say about any revamp of the Voting Rights Act after a Supreme Court decision gutted a key provision earlier this year, doesn't have much interest in revisiting the law, according to Talking Points Memo:

A recent House Judiciary Committee hearing made clear that Republicans have little to no interest in reconstituting the Voting Rights Act. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-TX) opened by emphasizing that even after the Supreme Court’s decision, “other very important provisions of the Voting Rights Act remain in place.”

At issue is the Voting Rights Act’s now-invalid Section 4, the formula used to determine which state and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. It was last reauthorized in 2006 by a 98-0 margin in the Senate and 390-33 in the House. But for Republicans, there’s a huge difference between allowing the renewal of a historic law for racial equality, and going out their way to reconstitute it now that the Supreme Court has thrown out part of it.

“Historically I fully understand why they addressed the situations they did,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), chairman of the Judiciary Constitution and Civil Justice subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the issue, told reporters. “I am just of the opinion today that we should do as the court said and that is to not focus on punishing the past but on building a better future.”

MSNBC has more details and notes that Franks managed to work the abortion issue into the debate:


When Franks voted against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, he was one of only 33 Republicans willing to do so. Now, most Republican legislators may agree with Franks. Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Franks insisted that didn’t mean he wasn’t committed to justice and equality.

“My goal has always been this notion of equal justice for all, I know sometimes I’m criticized quite often for having a commitment to trying to bring equal justice to the unborn child,” Franks, who once said abortion is worse for black Americans than slavery, said. “People say they say tomato, I say abortion.”

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