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Public Statements

Voting Rights Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HIMES. Mr. Speaker, this morning in striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court stood for an idea that permeates this institution: that regardless of who you are, the color of your skin, or whom you choose to love, the United States will not discriminate against you.

Unfortunately, yesterday the Supreme Court went in exactly the wrong direction on an even more fundamental issue: that those of us who serve here, our laws, our President, our Members of Congress, are elected by the people of the United States in a truly equal fashion.

We acknowledge that progress has been made in those regions that historically discriminated against minorities, but we also acknowledge that the problem is still there. Justice Ginsburg's dissenting opinion has example after example of discrimination. For example, in 2004, Waller County, Texas, threatened to prosecute two black students after they announced their intention to run for office.

Mr. Speaker, business should cease on this floor until we take up the Supreme Court's challenge to modernize and reinstitute the heart of the Voting Rights Act so that we can all look each other in the eye and say, We are here because the American people, all of them, elected us.

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