Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Blunder -- Koppleman - New York Magazine

Today's decision in Shelby v. Holder certainly ends the era which inspired me in my youth: the lunch counter sit-ins, ending the segregated southern school systems in the south, Misssippi Freedom summer to enforce voting rights.   Today the conservative majority on the Supreme Court claims the Voting Rights Act forces the southern states to prove they don't discriminate - when they think it is clear that bygones should be bygones.  We know that force isn't necessary to persuade them that a civil rights measure is unlawful - Seattle's voluntary school integration plan was stricken in another Roberts-led majority opinion.     I don't know what motivates John Roberts or the other conservatives on the court - aside from a gut resistance to any public action to eliminate the effects of our legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism. As usual Andrew Koppleman has a perspective close to mine.  - GWC

The Supreme Court's Voting Rights Blunder
by Andrew Koppleman, Northwestern Law School  
 "Roberts writes: “There is no denying ... that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.” There is a sense in which this is trivially true, the way it’s true that you can never step into the same river twice. The real question is whether racism is still powerful enough in these places to justify federal intervention. Congress thinks it is. But Roberts is sure that he knows better. The other notorious fact is a wave of voter I.D. laws that are being enacted across the United States. These laws are being justified with the rationale that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud. But that’s a transparent lie. The evidence of such fraud actually occurring is nil. The real reason for such laws is that they reduce the voting rates of blacks and Hispanics, and therefore advantage Republican candidates. Racially motivated voter suppression is still with us. The Supreme Court has just made it easier."

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