Thursday, February 28, 2013

Voting Rights Act and SCOTUS

On Thursday, the Supreme Court Of The United States heard a ridiculous, totally unfounded challenge to the Voting Rights Act, section 5.   That part says that certain sections of the country must get pre-clearance from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any voting law changes.  That would be Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and certain counties in other states (including some northern states)

It should be laughed out of court.

It won't be, because the court is full of conservative judicial activists.

The court's job is not to decide if a Law is a good idea.  It is to decide if a law is Constitutional.

The court keeps talking about whether it is a good law.

  1. They ask if it is still necessary, given the great strides we have made in Civil Rights.  That's a question for Congress, not SCOTUS.  Even asking it is judicial activism. 
  2. They ask if the southern states are still more prejudiced than the northern states.  Again, that's a question for Congress, not SCOTUS.  Even asking it is judicial activism.
  3. They say the supporting data is 35 years old and now irrelevant.  Again, that is a question for Congress, not SCOTUS.  Even asking it is judicial activism.

The Supreme Court has one job and the one question that goes with that job is:


They are not allowed to throw out laws because they think it is unnecessary
They are not allowed to throw out laws because they treat some states differently
They are not allowed to throw out laws because it is based on old, out-dated data.

They are allowed to throw out laws because it is unconstitional.

The Constitution of the the United Staes of America talks about voting right multiple times.  In fact there are two seperate amendments, any one of which allows Congress to make this law.  The relevant sections are underlined.

14th Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

15th Amendment:
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Also note that I have underlined the entire 15th amendment.  The sole purpose of this amendment is to allow Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and to enforce it.

The Voting Rights act is constitutional. 

It may (or may not) be bad law, but it is definitely constitutional.  Overturning it would be outrageous Judicial Activiism.

P.S.  As a side note, the answers to those questions illegally raised by the Supreme Court are:

  1. Yes it is still necessary.  States continue to attempt to gerrymander away/concentrate into one district minority votes.
  2. Yes, parts of the US are still more prejudiced. Yes, it has been diluted - and then spread throughout the entire country.  But in Mississippi you still have black, gay mayoral candidates hunted down and killed in the street.  (source).  And no, the claim it is anti-gay, not anti-black doesn't make your prejudice any less a valid reason to have the Justice Department watch your slimy, corrupt laws.
  3. While the supporting data is 35 years old, new supporting data, as shown by Florida's HUGE waiting time to vote for black districts with short waiting times in white districts, supports EXPANDING the Voting Rights Act, not eliminating it.
Some might say that the current anti=black legislation is not racist because they are trying to target liberals.   Yes, they are targeting black districts with schemes to undermine their voting rights, but only because they are liberals, which the GOP thinks makes it all right.

No it doesn't.   Banks are not allowed to refuse loans to black districts using they excuse that "most blacks are poor".  If you think most blacks are poor (or liberal), that doesn't make your racism legal.

The fact that 1) you can't get blacks to vote Republican, it itself an indication that the GOP is racist
2)  you then categorize all blacks as liberals is itself racist.

Racism is alive and well in the GOP.   Oh how the party of Lincoln has fallen.

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