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Supreme Court Appears Ready to Nuke the Voting Rights Act

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, corruption, crime, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, freedoms, government, law, media, minority rights, politics, religion, rights, society, Voting Rights )

- 2050 days ago -
Shelby County, Alabama, is seeking to have Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the law that first guaranteed the right of blacks in the South to vote, declared unconstitutional.

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Kit B (276)
Monday November 12, 2012, 6:54 am
(Photo Credit: President Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. Wikimedia Commons )

A key pillar of American civil rights law is now in danger of being nullified by the Supreme Court.

Shelby County, Alabama, is seeking to have Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the law that first guaranteed the right of blacks in the South to vote, declared unconstitutional. Section 5 forces areas of the country with a history of discrimination—mostly, but not entirely in the South—to ask the Department of Justice for its approval before making any changes to election rules. The DOJ is then supposed to ensure any changes protect Americans' voting rights. The law has a provision allowing jurisdictions to "bail out," but conservatives have repeatedly challeged the law as unconstitutional federal overreach that is no longer necessary because America has transcended its history of racial discrimination. The Supreme Court announced Friday that it would take up the case.

The last time conservatives challenged Section 5, in 2009, the Supreme Court handed down a very narrow 8-1 ruling (Clarence Thomas was the only dissenter) that did not declare the law unconstitutional.

The fact that the court is taking up a Section 5 case again so soon suggests strongly that the intent is to strike down part or all of the Voting Rights Act.

Although Section 5 survived in 2009, conservative justices appeared to believe that the law was discriminatory—against Southern white people. "Is it your position that today Southerners are more likely to discriminate than Northerners?" Chief Justice John Roberts demanded of the attorney defending the Voting Rights Act at the time. Despite the 8-1 vote, the 2009 decision was widely seen as leaving Section 5 hanging by a thread. The justices hinted very strongly that Congress, which had just reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in its entirety in 2006, should change the law soon or risk it being declared unconstitutional next time around.

Now it looks like the conservatives on the court will get their chance. A cursory review of recent Republican shenanigans with voting rules should put the notion that the VRA is obsolete entirely to bed. With voting growing more racially polarized, the temptations to alter voting rules to disenfranchise particular constituencies is obvious. Indeed, the Department of Justice successfully challenged Texas' redistricting map because it diluted the voting power of Latinos. If the court strikes Section 5 down, one of the most effective and important powers the federal government has for ensuring that the right to vote is not abridged on the basis of race will be destroyed.
********* Check out links within body of article at Visit Site**********

By Adam Serwer | Mother Jones Magazine |

Terrie Williams (798)
Monday November 12, 2012, 8:49 am
It can't, Carole, because it is predominantly Fascist. If they do manage to stike it, it then will be up to the Congress to re-write it and put the new act into law. That will be the only recourse.

TomCat S (128)
Monday November 12, 2012, 9:07 am
Goose-stepping into the 19th century.

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday November 12, 2012, 9:18 am
What the hell!! We have just stepped out of a time machine into the 1950s.

Carrie B (306)
Monday November 12, 2012, 12:16 pm
Battles fought and won now need to be fought and won again to please a few who can not or will not face reality.

Kit B (276)
Monday November 12, 2012, 1:17 pm

From the same folks that brought you Citizens United, intervened to settle an election, when in fact that is specifically covered by constitution, to go to House in case of a tie. Trust them? Some how I think not.

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday November 12, 2012, 1:24 pm
Is it just my perception or do most of these bizarre retro human right issues come out of Republican majority states? I am still shaking my head over this story.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Monday November 12, 2012, 1:34 pm

No, I've noticed the same thing, Craig (particularly, now that I live in the South).

The same people, who scream about not becoming a "Nanny State" and want less government control, are the biggest proponents of removing choices for reproductive health, reintroducing prayer in schools, and, now, eliminating a hard-fought-for voting rights amendment.

It makes you wonder. If the amendment is not necessary, what's the rush to remove it?

After watching all the voter suppression, questionable electronic ballot machines, etc. over the past few months, I have no confidence that a Republican-controlled state (Alabama) is acting in the best interests of minorities or women.


Kit B (276)
Monday November 12, 2012, 1:50 pm

Or as they prefer to be called the Confederacy. Yep, the same states that once had literacy tests and polling taxes now want to ask the Supreme Court to rid them of that pesky and highly unpredictable non-republican voter. Some years they just might not turn out at all, other years they just might win an election.

As that genius of the republican party, Ann Coulter has openly stated; "take away women's right to vote and we will never again have a democrat in the White House."

JL A (281)
Monday November 12, 2012, 6:11 pm
Scary when any portion of the carefully crafted checks and balances our founding fathers bequeathed us turns out to be unbalanced.

Fran F (117)
Monday November 12, 2012, 9:56 pm
We need a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote.

Past Member (0)
Monday November 12, 2012, 11:10 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Danuta W (1250)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 2:18 am

Heidi Aubrey (16)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 3:03 am
I can't believe it actually made it to the Supreme Court! Wow. Clearly a Republican tactic. If Congress does get, there is no way the President will sign it into law. And there is no way his veto will be over ridden in the Senate.

roxy H (350)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 4:32 am
Good Morning Ladies, and Sadly.. I agree. I have been see'ing the corruption so badly and we all have. It's gotten worse. :( I can't even type out the frustration. Too tired and it seems the younger generation has no idea what freedom even means. I am panic'ed. But, we as the older ones have to somehow trust the teachings we gave them. I just don't know. So many fails in so many area's and it's all based on money, power and greed. sad sad sad

cecily w (0)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 4:35 am
Here they go again! We need an electronic voter registration system that is under federal control.

Mary S (1)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 5:02 am
You wonder why we insist on going back to the 1800? We don't believe education is important anymore. We seem to consider education rather old fashioned we will just home school, keeps those nasty liberals from teaching our kids there are 2 sides to a story. How to reason, or how to learn how history has influenced what we do or think today, not important, it is all lies anyway. Since the world is only 6,000 years old how much do we have to know anyway.

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 9:58 am
Say what?? That is so outrageous! As a friend says, "there is a whole lot of stupid in the south" -

Roseann d (178)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 1:06 pm
Evolve already. Friggin' crackpots. Oh, they claim they don't evolve. Perhaps they are right.

SUSAN T (14)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 1:12 pm
They (these polititions} should know that due to the internet that the smart, real people in this country are the majority and most of us have had a really long run with the 2 party working together. It has been GOOD and we aren't going to put up with something as disenfranchising the right of anyone to vote. It's all there in the History books (which they'd like to disregard) that too many people have worked so hard and died for their freedoms, which is what they are talking about. Freedom, internally, as well as globally. ie: what we have or haven't accomplished in Iraq and Afganistan, what are ALL the countries we have helped to rid the countries of Sadam Husains, etc.. Just so we could allow a take over of our country by the Corporations, Money people, and Republican cry babies. I think the vast majority is ready to stand up for our freedoms and our people who have died to keep us free, and put an end to this nonsense. I think the Supreme Court should come under scrutiny.

Lynne Buckley (0)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 2:00 pm
Very disturbing. It shames America.

. (0)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 5:12 pm
I am unsure of the "sinister" aspect here.
We already have the 15th Amendment that gives Congress the power to make an enforcement legislation to secure the rights of all citizens to vote, regardless of race, creed, or color.
Section 5 of the Voter's Rights Act mandates that covered jurisdictions factor race into their election laws-- even as the 14th and 15th Amendments' non-discrimination principles forbid it. Isn't this creating a serious equal protection contradiction?
Shouldn't we just have "citizens' rights" and "human rights" instead of highlighting differences in this day and age? Highlighting the differences, it seems to me, is the discriminatory factor here.
Anyhow, from what I've read, pundits are saying that Section 5 is now obsolete due to it's tremendous success, and that it is in conflict of the Section 2 ( where the Justice Department can look into allegations of voter disenfranchisement) which should remain as the only and better solution.

Tom C Sullivan (98)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 8:01 pm
I use to live in that crappy county, those bigots are total morons, thank god I moved to the gulf coast

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday November 14, 2012, 4:45 pm
Many have worked decades to establish some equality---now, these small-minded people want to turn back the clock on all progress. They're infested in our society; and although their voices are tiny, rightwing media magnifies their message and pushes them forward. With a right-leaning SCOTUS, they're taking advantage of absolutely every single thing they can find to further divide America. I'm disgusted and tired, but won't give up the fight. There must be many who feel as I do, so the pushback should be enormous...maybe enough to squash their hatred and racism once and for all. Do we have to keep fighting the same issues forever?!

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Wednesday November 14, 2012, 5:03 pm

Lois, I cannot thank you enough.

INDEED . . . HOW MUCH LONGER must we read these words of, undeniable, prejudiice (and be expected to not react?)

Have we learned nothing?

It's a testimony to fact (that there are still committed bodies trying to avert these efforts.)

But also assurance that there are MANY who disagree, and will stand strong.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Thursday November 15, 2012, 6:53 am
They are so proud of being American! Proud of what? Not letting fellow citizens vote?

faith v (16)
Friday November 16, 2012, 1:21 pm
They keep rehashing old victories (Roe v. Wade, equal pay,among others) to stop us from seeing what they are REALLY doing - destroying the future.

It's a win-win for them, the distraction is perfect already and if they restore Jim Crow laws, they have picked up the bonus for this round, too.
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