Cooper Criticizes Civil Rights Enforcement Shift from “Racism Punishment” to “Racism Prevention”

Discussing problems regarding current adjudication of the almost 50-year-old Voting Rights Act, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper says “it is the enforcement in the name of the preclearance standard that is the subject of the problem.”

Specifically, Horace tells his fellow MSNBC panelists that “the problem has become that the Justice Department has become more interested in racism prevention than racism punishment…. The Justice Department has decided that the number of black elected officials is a proxy for the degree of racism — or not — that’s going on.  That’s an untested premise.”

In the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Eric Holder, to be argued before the Court on 2/27/13, the justices are asked to determine if the “preclearance” standards found in Section 5 of the law that target selective states and localities for scrutiny now — based on civil rights movement-era bad behavior — is still constitutional.

Horace was joined in debate on the 2/23/13 edition of MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” by the host, Ryan Haygood of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Shelby County resident Bishop Harry Jones, Ari Berman of The Nation magazine and former deputy attorney general Julie Fernandes.

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