The Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act

Item added by abichara. Added on 06/25/2013
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The Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act 4

I guess we should celebrate our freedoms today... you know, while we still have them.

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The Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act 4

I guess since republicans can't win major elections they are reduced to stripping one of the greatest civil rights achievements of the 20th century.

A shockingly bad decision - even for this baffling right-of-center court.

This court overreached in this one - and that's not leftist babble - that's the truth.

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The Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act 4

Jim Crow lives?

Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was invalidated by the Supreme Court today. That provision designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court. Those areas are mainly concentrated in the South, which has a long history of racial discrimination extending to the present, but it's provisions apply nationally.

The majority, in doing this, ignored the 15th Amendment in the process. The reactionaries have recently begun a strong campaign to weaken the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and this is just part of that. Actually, nullification of those amendments has long been a dream of theirs. The Fifteenth Amendment, passed after a horrific civil war and more than a century of brutal oppression of a class of people defined by the color of their skin, declares that 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" and explicitly commands that "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." That's as clear-cut as it gets.

No one doubts that Congress has the power to enact legislation like The Voting Rights Act. The authority is clear in the 15th Amendment. The court's interpretation is that the judgement of Congress is wrong, that the court will substitute its judgement for Congress' judgement. Their idea is that Congress is unable to evaluate data on voting correctly, and the court has decided that it can and should re-evaluate the data and invalidate the law based on its interpretation of voting data. Hence, the court is simply another Congress, not a judicial body at all. It's hard to imagine how this novel power of the court is limited. It's basically judicial activism run wild, with a bent towards protecting the electoral prerogatives of Southern whites, which forms the core electoral base of the GOP at the present time.

Another interesting point (which builds on this notion of judicial activism) is that the court has once again overruled a set of precedents. The Voting Rights Act had been repeatedly upheld in prior decisions, just as the prohibition on corporate contributions to campaigns had been repeatedly upheld before the Citizens United decision. Overturning well-established precedents undermines the rationale for having a court in the first place, as it implies that the courts decisions are no more than the whim of the particular members of the court, or the issues and interests that are up for judgement.

What will probably happen is that it will be tossed back to Congress, where Section 4 will die on the vine due to inaction. And without Section 4, Section 5, the pre-clearance section, which prevents voter role purges, gerrymandering and other racially bent trickery rampant in several states will essentially be toothless. Without review--and the threat of review--Americans would once again lose those rights. Congress will not address the Section 4 issue because a significant portion of it realizes that by doing so they have effectively repealed the protections contained within Section 5.

The court claims that Jim Crow is no more and therefore, Section 4 should no longer apply. Problem is, Jim Crow isn't gone, he's just moved into cyberspace. The new trick is lynching by computer program: removing voters, as was done in Florida and Arizona (and a dozen other states) by using poisoned databases to pick out "illegal" and "felon" and "inactive" voters--who all happen to be of the Hispanic or African-American persuasion. It's all about manipulating the composition of the electorate. The GOP, for all the tears of its consultants, knows it can't rock these votes, so they block these votes.

I'm certain that the GOP majority in the court knew they were handicapping the next presidential race by a good 6 million votes. And the court knew full well that their ruling today was the same as stuffing several hundred thousand GOP red votes into the ballot boxes for the 2014 Congressional races. This is largely a political ruling.

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