60s Flashback

Voting rights soar in the House

"It was just like old times. We creamed 'em." The nostalgic reference was to the historic legislative victories on civil rights in the 1960s. The happy speaker was California Democratic Congressman Don Edwards, a veteran of those past triumphs. The cause of his glee was the smashing vote, 389 to 24, by which the House last week extended key provisions of the most successful civil rights law of all: the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The act, parts of which will expire next year unless the Senate also agrees to extend them, had seemed threatened by the...

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