Reviews | Voting Rights Bill Dead, Filibuster Alive

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For the editor:

Regarding “After fiery debate, bill vote dies in Senate” (front page, January 20):

“I just don’t know how you break a rule to make one,” Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday, expressing his reluctance to kill the filibuster and pass the suffrage bill he supports.

To paraphrase Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous discussion of just and unjust laws in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”: There are rules that are just and there are rules that are unjust.

The filibuster is an unjust rule with a long history as a weapon of racist oppression. Strom Thurmond’s infamous obstruction of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was no exception. From the 1890s through the 1960s, several suffrage and civil rights bills were killed by the filibuster in the Senate.

Today, Americans’ voting rights are once again threatened by unfair rules. The GOP has spent the past year enacting voting restrictions by the dozens and further gerrymandering House districts to allow for minority rule. And since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, it’s all legal — even if nothing is fair.

The Senate must act to protect the right to vote by killing the filibuster. When an unjust rule stands in the way of justice, it is a moral imperative to break that rule.

Cory Derringer
Swissvale, Pennsylvania.

For the editor:

Regarding “How did the Democrats let this happen? by Bishop Reginald T. Jackson (opinion guest essay, Jan. 17):

Democrats voted to pass suffrage legislation, but not a single Republican was in favor. Additionally, across the country, Republicans are leading the effort to stop people from voting.

The stubborn filibuster actions of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are a problem, but even they support the legislation. They are waiting for 10 Republicans to join them.

How are President Biden and the Democrats responsible for this failure? And why is Bishop Jackson calling them out, instead of placing blame where it belongs?

Barbara Barren
brooklyn

For the editor:

It was interesting to watch the Senate debate on suffrage and filibuster. Many Republicans have argued that we don’t need to protect the right to vote because voter turnout in 2020 is so high. The question I’ve been waiting for someone to ask them, but never heard, is, “If the rules in 2020 worked so well, why are so many states changing them?”

John S. Smith
Hamilton, New Jersey

For the editor:

Re “Democrats face costly new slog on voting restrictions” (front page, January 16):

These new voting rules are not intended to restrict meaningful voter access or remove voting rights. They are intended to restrict casual and uninformed voting and to prevent political activists from harvesting the votes of others.

The vote is meant to be serious and reflect the national will at any given time. It’s not meant to be “easy” or incidental or absent for no reason. This is not a fall sale spread over a month. Lax regulations distorted the very concept and process of voting in order to manipulate elections.

Richard Sibert
Seattle

For the editor:

Charles M. Blow (column, January 17) sounded a crucial alarm, particularly when he pointed out that the voter suppression legislation being pushed by many in the GOP is just the opening salvo of these efforts. , and that President Biden has been way behind the game in this regard. But why is this?

It seems to go back to two phenomena: Mr. Biden’s almost delusional belief that he could pass important legislation on a bipartisan basis on the strength of his personality thanks to his past connections with Congress, and a failure to prioritize what the country needs most.

Otherwise, how to explain why he devoted so much effort to the failure of the Legislative campaign to Build Back Better when the fate of our democracy was at stake? Making the vote as sacrosanct as possible should have been the priority; This was not the case.

Roy Christianson
Madison, Wis.

For the editor:

Re “Judges Reject Trump Request on Jan. 6 Cases” (front page, Jan. 20):

What good news, in a world of bad news.

Perhaps now, with the Supreme Court favoring the demands of the House committee investigating January 6, we will finally know the truth about what went through the minds of Donald Trump and his allies, what messages they sent each other and what plans they had to overthrow the will of the American people.

There has perhaps never been a time when “full disclosure” has mattered more. Once the truth is known, once the American people learn how close our nation has come to the overthrow of our fragile democracy, then perhaps Mr. Trump’s reign will be pushed back for good.

Doris Fenig
Boca Raton, Florida.

For the editor:

Regardless of the United States, we can be happy that our Supreme Court is still behaving as expected, as an independent judiciary with no allegiance to any president.

We may complain about the conservatism of judges or the fact that personal convictions may predispose their decisions, but their righteousness is what matters most to our country. They are free from corruption and committed to the rule of law.

William Goldman
Palos Verdes Estates, California.

For the editor:

Regarding “Biden expects Putin to order attack on Ukraine” (front page, January 20):

Although I am a supporter of President Biden, I was in disbelief when I read this headline. At a time when the president must appear adamantly and resolutely opposed to such Russian aggression, it makes him appear weak and resigned to the idea.

That may not be what he meant, but that is how many will interpret it, including our allies in Ukraine, unfortunately.

For the editor:

Regarding “Private insurers must cover eight at-home Covid tests each month, US says” (news article, January 11):

It was heartening to learn that the Biden administration was requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of at-home Covid test kits purchased by individuals. However, Medicare will not cover these costs.

It seems almost unbelievable that the administration is ordering reimbursement for families and adults with private medical insurance, while excluding much of the elderly population, who are most susceptible to complications from Covid.

Don Hillel
new York
The author is a retired physician.

For the editor:

The weather tragedies in the Midwest last month once again demonstrated Americans’ sense of shared responsibility and concern. Rescuers dug through the rubble to find potential survivors; neighbors opened their homes to shelter each other as the tornadoes touched down.

It’s an enduring part of the American myth – we do what we can to help those in need, whether it’s filling sandbags in a rainstorm or venturing out in boats during a squall. , putting our own lives at risk to help others.

This disinterestedness makes it all the more paradoxical for many Americans to refuse to get vaccinated and to perform other acts of common sense to protect each other from Covid-19.

If your neighbor’s house was on fire, would you hesitate to use your garden hose to put out the fire? If your neighbor’s child was in the way of a getaway truck, would you hesitate to rush down the street to save that child? Doesn’t Covid-19 present such a risk?

Larry Westerman
Portland, Oregon.

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