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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Time For the Voting Rights Act to RIP?

Amid heated redistricting battle, continued federal involvement questioned

RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) —
A splattered bug and a lightning bolt — that’s one way to describe the shape of North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional districts, respectively. Although different in geography, they share one similarity: Both are tailored to strengthen the electoral power of minority voters, a safeguard under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 meant to purge racism.

It’s an idea rich with historical significance, but has it outlived its usefulness? In a nation that elected its first black president in 2008, has 44 black members of Congress (nearly half from the southeast), and reached an all-time high in racially integrated neighborhoods after the last census, observers wonder whether so-called “majority-minority” districts — and other conditions of the Voting Rights Act — are still needed.

“We’re trying to settle out an issue that 40 years ago was a concern, but now people are [desegregating] on their own,” said Michael Bitzer, an associate professor of political science and history at Catawba College in Salisbury. “That’s going to be an interesting question that the U.S. Supreme Court has got to confront at some point — whether these [changes] are truly done by use of the law, or is it just natural residential tendencies.”


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