Re "Fixing the Voting Rights Act," Editorial, Jan. 24

There isn't any legislation needed. The Supreme Court's decision last year was aimed at only one section of the Voting Rights Act; the rest remains in full force. As The Times recognizes, the Justice Department and civil rights groups are now using those other provisions to try to advance their agendas.

All that's different is that lawyers have to prove racial discrimination before they can get court relief, which is the way every other civil rights law works.

Much in the draft bill The Times supports has nothing to do with the Supreme Court's decision. What's worse, the bill itself features racial classifications and offers protections for "minority voters" that it withholds from "nonminority" voters.

Finally, the new legislation is an attempt to ensure that the Voting Rights Act works principally as a "disparate impact" statute. But that approach is not about stopping real discrimination; it's about ensuring racial proportionality by eliminating legitimate standards and procedures. This raises (again) the problem of Congress exceeding its constitutional authority.

Roger Clegg

Falls Church, Va.

Clegg, the president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, served in the Justice Department in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

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