President Joe Biden, in remarks prepared for the Martin & Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast on Sunday, is calling on Congress to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, The Hill reported.
“In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, holding that times have changed and blatant voter discrimination was rare, contrary to the assault that was taking place on the ground,” Biden will say. “The late Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg wrote that the decision was like ‘throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm.’ Today, we have a hail storm, not a rain storm.”
Biden will also hail the unprecedented voter turnout seen in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, but condemn both the Jan.6 riots by former President Trump’s at the U.S. Capitol attempting to overturn the results and proposed state legislation restricting voting.
The president’s remarks come on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when Alabama state troopers tear-gassed and beat peaceful civil rights protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965. The measure to restore the Voting Rights Act is named after the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, who suffered skull fractures in the incident. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law that August.
“A few days before he passed, Jill and I spoke with John, Congressman Lewis. But instead of answering our concerns about him, ‘how are you doing, John,’ he asked us to stay focused on the work left undone to heal and to unite this nation around what it means to be an American,” Biden will say at the breakfast. “That’s the God’s truth. John wouldn’t talk about his pending death or his concerns. He said we just got to get this done.”
Biden is also set to take executive action on voting access Sunday that will reduce voting barriers for groups such as Native Americans, people with disabilities, service members and overseas voters.