Skip to comments.US Supreme Court justices voice skepticism of voting rights law
Posted on 02/27/2013 2:15:53 PM PST by SeekAndFind
The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative justices voiced deep skepticism Wednesday about a section of a landmark civil rights law that has helped millions of Americans exercise their right to vote.
In an ominous note for supporters of the key provision of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy both acknowledged the measure's vital role in fighting discrimination and suggested that other important laws in U.S. history had run their course. "Times change," Kennedy said during the fast-paced, 70-minute argument.
Kennedy's views are likely to prevail on the closely divided court, and he tends to side with his more conservative colleagues on matters of race.
The court's liberals and conservatives engaged in a sometimes tense back-and-forth over whether there is still a need in 2013 for the part of the voting rights law that requires states with a history of discrimination against blacks, mainly in the Deep South, to get approval before making changes in the way elections are held.
Justice Antonin Scalia called the law a "perpetuation of racial entitlement."
Chief Justice John Roberts, a vocal skeptic of the use of race in all areas of public life, cited a variety of statistics that showed starker racial disparities in some aspects of voting in the northeastern state of Massachusetts than in the southern state of Mississippi
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
FOR THOSE WHO DON’T REMEMBER AND NEED A REFRESHER:
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 19731973aa-6) is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African Americans from exercising the franchise.
The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
Another thing to remember is that from the arguments, people thought they would void Obamacare.
MORE DETAILS HERE:
Justice Elena Kagan argued that while the initial aim of ensuring African Americans could vote had been met, there is a “second generation” of discrimination under way with the insidious use of other devices, such as the drawing of electoral boundaries, voter identification laws and the placing of polling stations, which are intended to undermine the power of minority votes.
“Think about this state that you’re representing. It’s about a quarter black but Alabama has no black statewide elected officials,” she said.
Kagan said that while Rein objected to the formula used by Congress to decide which states should have their elections still fall under federal oversight, “by any formula Congress could devise, Alabama would be captured”.
One of the questions the justices are considering is whether it is unjust to impose controls on Shelby County and Alabama if other jurisdictions which may be similarly guilty are not also subject to the same constraints.
Sotomayor told Rein that he was trying to obscure continuing discrimination in Alabama.
“You’re asking us to do something, which is to ignore your record and look at everybody else’s,” she said.
Rein responded that the number of black members of the Alabama legislature is proportionate to African Americans living in the state.
The argument was at times framed in terms of dealing with a disease and whether the remedy should still be applied, or whether there is a new disease requiring a different remedy.
“It’s an old disease,” said Justice Stephen Breyer. “It’s gotten a lot better. A lot better. But it’s still there.”
Part of the disagreement between the justices centred on how Congress reached the decision to renew the Voting Rights Act. Sotomayor noted that Congress compiled a long record of recent measures by the affected states that discriminated against minority voters at elections.
Think about this state that youre representing. Its about a quarter black but Alabama has no black statewide elected officials, she said.”
Yes, let’s just choose officials on the basis of their color. Surely that’s constitutional (sarc/off)
I wouldn’t care if all the officials of my state (not Alabama) were all Asian or South Pacific Islanders, so long as they were honest and the most competent. I want good government—not government
where people vote for others on the basis of their skin color.
Vote on the basis of the merit of the individual.
Do it the other way, and you get what Birmingham is today...corrupt, but unable to do anything about it.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a vocal skeptic of the use of race in all areas of public life, cited a variety of statistics that showed starker racial disparities in some aspects of voting in the northeastern state of Massachusetts than in the southern state of MississippiIt is not our job to protect the people from the consequences
The only thing wrong with the literacy tests was that they were not difficult enough.
To ask the question is to know the answer.
What ever you read these days,its backwards.
Fool me once we don't get fooled again.
Don’t forget that President GW Bush signed the renewal act into law in 2006.
Kagan is right, but the discrimination is occuring in Democrat controlled urban areas.
Outstanding and worth repeating again and again. It literally voids all the arguments in favor of the VRA.
We need to reject the entire premise that race exists and that only someone of your same race can effectively represent you.
Does Obama’s race disenfranchise Asians and Latinos?
Another Karl Rove genius move.
Hey Kagan...were minorities disenfanchised in their communities when the turnout was 104% and every vote was for President Urkle?
“Another thing to remember is that from the arguments, people thought they would void Obamacare.”
It is very rare that the Federal employees ever rule against their appointing government.
I honestly find the Conversation itself sick not only because it likely has no significant and therefore only exist to tease the rest of us with the spectacle of debate.
I mostly find it sick because the supposedly Conservative injustices are talking about changing their rulings to “reflect modern times”. I realize this is using the left’s own “living constitution” reasoning against them, an almost certainly fruitlessly effort as the left have well demonstrated that their guiding light is not reason but ideology.
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