Hillary Clinton criticized the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate part of the Voting Rights Act on Monday, launching a series of speeches the almost certain 2016 presidential candidate will give in the next few months on policy issues. Monday's speech, at the American Bar Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, was a pretty direct attack on a series of legislative efforts to enact stricter voting regulation over the past few months.
Addressing the claim by conservatives that voter ID laws — seen as disproportionally detrimental to minority voters in the U.S. — are needed to protect against voter fraud, Clinton dismissed the threat of voter fraud as a "phantom epidemic" adding, “Anyone that says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention." She continued:
“We do — let’s admit it — have a long history of shutting people out: African Americans, women, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities. And throughout our history, we have found too many ways to divide and exclude people from their ownership of the law and protection from the law.”
Noting that over 81 bills restricting voting have been introduced in states this year alone, Clinton urged Congress to come up with a new formula for determining which districts are subject to federal "pre-clearance" under the Voting Rights Act. If not, she argued, "“citizens will be disenfranchised, victimized by the law instead of served by it, and that progress — that historical progress toward a more perfect union — will go backward instead of forward.” Just today, North Carolina signed sweeping voter restriction provisions into law. The Justice Department has pledged to fight to regain federal oversight over districts and states previously determined to have a history of discrimination. Texas has pushed back against Attorney General Eric Holder's attempts to take back oversight of the state's election reform by, among other things, arguing that their district maps discriminate based on political party, and not by race.
The AP explains that her next speech is scheduled a month out in Philadelphia, where she plans to discuss transparency and national security. She's also slated in future appearances to talk about "global leadership and the nation’s moral standing around the world." The former Secretary of State was on a "hiatus" from politics until now, even though everyone pretty much knows she's probably running for president in 2016.