Protecting voting rights
may warrant bold action
Protection of voting rights should be the highest priority of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda. The filibuster, a relic of the Jim Crow era, no longer should stand in the way of voting rights, especially when new voter suppression laws passed by Republican state legislatures are taking aim at racial and ethnic minorities. Bipartisanship may be preferable, but not at the expense of civil rights.
Instead of trying to eliminate the filibuster altogether, Democrats could try lowering the cloture threshold to 55 votes. Alternatively, they should consider eliminating the filibuster only to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This is designed to strengthen parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act struck down recently by the Supreme Court in its 2013 decision of Shelby v. Holder. It is unlikely that voting rights will be protected by the court with its three Trump appointees. Instead, Congress must step up.