The story of the name change of the Senate subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights during a week that wasn’t bustling with breaking news is particularly distressing.
While it is a perk of Senate committee and subcommittee chairs to change the names of the committees they oversee, this particular action is of significance. It is symbolic of the GOP’s unrelenting march and commitment to turn back the clock on every significant achievement since the New Deal and Civil Rights eras.
As previously stated, such changes are a part of chairing committees. At a time when more voters are disenfranchised than at any time before the Voting Rights Act, and during a period of great fear over racial profilings and police shootings, this change should not go unnoticed or be forgotten. Black lives matter. Voting rights matter. Civil rights matter. Human rights matter. Democracy matters.
Senate Republicans Remove ‘Civil Rights And Human Rights’ From Subcommittee Name
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this month and announced the members of the six subcommittees this week. With Grassley’s announcement, the subcommittee formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights suddenly became the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
The new chairman of the newly named subcommittee is Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). His office confirmed that it made the switch.
“We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights,” said Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. “We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution.”
In his press release, Cornyn never used the phrase “civil rights” or “human rights.” Instead, the release said he would be a “watchdog against unconstitutional overreach and will hold the Obama Administration accountable for its actions.” Cornyn is an opponent of legislation that would restore federal oversight over some local and state election changes that were eliminated when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
While the subcommittee made no formal announcement of the title change, civil rights organizations noticed. Nancy Zirkin, who serves as executive vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called the decision “discouraging.” [ … ]
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