Collins Argued that Voting Rights Legislation Is a Federal Overstep and People Immediately Brought Receipts
On Tuesday, the Republican minority in the Senate unanimously used its filibuster power to block vital voting rights legislation, even as voter suppression proposals by Republican state legislatures sprout up across the country.
A central argument from the Republicans was that a federal body passing legislation on states' election procedures was a federal overstep.
This argument was parroted by moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine in a Senate floor speech.
Maine's Senators react to the elections bill vote youtu.be
"[The bill] would take away the rights of people in each of the 50 states to determine which election rules work best for their citizens."
What Collins and her other Republican colleagues ignored is that some of the most treasured voting rights laws were federal decisions, including the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, and the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Her argument would call these long-accepted and consequential decisions into question, and its logical conclusion would be that any federal oversight into states' election procedures is out of bounds, even if individual states are deliberately undermining access to the ballot box for political gain.
People soon began pointing out the holes in her argument.
Note that by this logic Congress was wrong to pass the Voting Rights Act. Or, for that matter, to propose the 14th… https://t.co/d5OhXxLsQX— Scott Lemieux (@Scott Lemieux) 1624396305.0
Wasn’t that the whole point of the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Yes, it was. Didn’t Susan Collins’s political hero,… https://t.co/kmIZiXtLXs— John Nichols (@John Nichols) 1624411085.0
Susan Collins in 1870: “The Fifteenth Amendment would take away the rights of people in each of the 50 states to determine which election rules work best for their citizens."
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) June 23, 2021
Could someone please introduce Susan Collins to the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority and the d… https://t.co/2t1oWUHu1l— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1624457938.0
Wait until Susan Collins finds out about the 15th Amendment or the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Seriously, stop try… https://t.co/vf1nkI0eep— Mondaire Jones (@Mondaire Jones) 1624456167.0
Collins' argument against S.1 would also apply to the 15th amendment, the 19th, the 24th, the 26th and the VRA. Pe… https://t.co/S5bdb3C6K9— Alex Keyssar (@Alex Keyssar) 1624466394.0
They also noted the historical purposes of the "states' rights" argument.
What the Senator from the whitest state in the union really means is “it would take away the right of white people… https://t.co/6TlzeiSFPG— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub) 1624443800.0
States rights. Jim Crow America. We see you @SenSusanCollins https://t.co/dNa0a49JTy— Tera Hunter (@Tera Hunter) 1624456808.0
which "people," what does "work best" mean, and which "citizens" are we talking about here https://t.co/tNbRbsfLFe— Jay Willis (@Jay Willis) 1624396181.0
As soon as Republicans are using "states' rights" to defend something, you should know it's bad. Slavery, banning s… https://t.co/91GXb7rLyS— Zack Ford (@Zack Ford) 1624450869.0
In 2006, Collins voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.