When the Letter Betrays the Spirit: Voting Rights Enforcement and African American Participation from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama

When the Letter Betrays the Spirit: Voting Rights Enforcement and African American Participation from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama

by Tyson D. King-Meadows

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Overview

When the Letter Betrays the Spirit examines the wide latitude provided to the executive branch and to the Supreme Court by the text of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Drawing from government enforcement data, legislative history, Supreme Court rulings, the 2006 reauthorization debate on the VRA, and from the 2007 scandal involving the firing of U.S. attorneys under the Bush Administration, the book examines when, why, and how executive and judicial discretion facilitates violation of voting rights. Connecting Johnson to Obama, the book outlines why the executive-centered model of voting rights enforcement relegates Congress to the sidelines, and outlines why a Congress-centered approach provides the best protection against the effects of the law enforcement axiom: the law is neither self-executing nor self-interpreting. The book also examines 2008 survey results about public support for a Jim Crow-era election reform policy that would require voters to read a passage of the Constitution. Describing the civic literacy dimensions of voting rights law from Shaw v. Reno (1993) to Northwest Austin Utility v. Holder (2009), the book highlights the complicated nature of the post-racial rhetoric surrounding the 2008 election cycle and surrounding the upcoming post-2010 census redistricting cycles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739149133
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 08/18/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tyson D. King-Meadows is assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Congressional Authority and Voting Rights Enforcement
A Retrospective and Prospective Look at the Voting Rights Act
Chapter 1: Why Discretion Matters in Voting Rights Enforcement
Chapter 2: Obama's Inheritance: The Johnson Framework, the VRA, and Faith in Federal Power
The Challenge to Congressional Authority
Chapter 3: Misdirection: Political Theatre and the 2006 Reauthorization of Section 5
Chapter 4: Partisan Spoils of Office: A post-Shaw Judicial Philosophy of Civic Literacy
Chapter 5: Is "Bull Connor" Dead? Contemporary Public Opinion on Voting Rights Policy
Chapter 6: A Battle of Principals: Congress, the DOJ, and the George W. Bush Administration
A Systems Theory Approach to Enforcement
Chapter 7: The Macro-Political Context Shaping Enfranchisement, 2000-2008
Conclusion: Regulating Discretion and the Challenge of Post-Racial Politics
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Selected Bibliography

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When the Letter Betrays the Spirit: Voting Rights Enforcement and African American Participation from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do we keep doing votes? We have them, like, every fu<br>cking day! Its kinda annoying...