The Voting Whites Act

I was thinking all day about what I’d say about this latest Supreme Court decision … but couldn’t say it any better than Justice Ginsburg’s dissent, which was so biting that it caused Justice Alito to roll his eyes (because, you know, women! What do they know about the law, am I right, guys?).


“Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake­ proofed, places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination,” she wrote.

“Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today. The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story. Without even identifying a standard of review, the Court dismissively brushes off arguments based on ‘data from the record’ … One would expect more from an opinion striking at the heart of the Nation’s signal piece of civil-rights legislation.”

She then listed many many examples of how the law had been used just in recent history to prevent discrimination, thus proving that it is needed.

Basically, the majority did what conservatives call “judicial activism” which they claim to hate (except when they don’t). This was a law that had been held Constitutional previously, and (as Ginsburg points out) was a re-enactment of an already existing law. The majority ignored the many examples Congress gave when it passed the law, and instead imposed its will over the elected officials and decided we didn’t need the law. That’s not what the Court is supposed to do.

What the majority said, when you boil it down, was “We agree there is still discrimination, but we don’t care.”

So now the floodgates are open. If you think Republicans had been trying to keep people from voting in the past, you haven’t seen anything yet.

9 thoughts on “The Voting Whites Act

  1. After the past couple of years with Republican controlled states doing whatever they can to throw up roadblocks like voter ID bills (PA, FL, OH, VA), and limiting election hours at selected polls (Ohio), as well as voter intimidation programs (PA advertising ID laws that were put on hold), the SCOTUS is basically saying, go ahead and cheat and maybe they’ll look into it after the election is history. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas, the Klu Klux Court, they have brought the Klan into the 21st Century.


  2. (AP) WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities still need federal monitoring.

    The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

    Huh… that doesn’t sound like the Republicans are out get non-Republican voters to me. It sounds more like Congress has been unable to get its act together and update the data it used from 1965 to declare this as an EMERGENCY MEASURE.

    The argument here seems to be about a state’s right to conduct its own elections, and not about the conservatives out to deny voting rights to people they don’t like. In fact, here it is, in writing:

    (AP)Justice Clarence Thomas was part of the majority, but wrote separately to say again that he would have struck down the advance approval requirement itself.” As I recall, liberals don’t like Justice Thomas, correct? But he would have switched the decision had Congress merely updated their 40-year old data. But since the current 25-year extension of the oversight by the Federal government would reach until 2031, when the data would then be over 60 years old, he voted against it.

    Wait, wait! There’s more:
    (AP)Ginsburg said no one doubts that voting discrimination still exists. “But the court today terminates the remedy that proved to be best suited to block that discrimination,” she said in a dissent that she read aloud in the packed courtroom.

    Liberals like Ginsburg, right? And she sees that everyone acknowledges there is voter discrimination to this day. But her approach was that an existing law based on old data was better than no law at all, as opposed to Thomas’ approach was that an existing law with current data was the better way to go. Huh… and Thomas is black, isn’t he? So does he qualify to vote now?

    If only the Supreme Court would have told Congress to get new data, then something could have been DONE, and this would have passed. Oh… yeah, they did, in 2006. But that was when the evil President Bush was in power and clearly the Congress could do nothing. Well, they certainly did do nothing.

    If only the Supreme Court had given Congress another chance! Hey, look at this:
    (AP) The court warned of problems with the voting rights law in a similar case heard in 2009. The justices averted a major constitutional ruling at that time, but Congress did nothing to address the issues the court raised. The law’s opponents, sensing its vulnerability, filed several new lawsuits.

    But that’s not fair! It was still an evil Republican President controlling an evil Republican Congress that sought only to… oops. My mistake. It was President Obama in 2009. And the Congress was controlled by… Democrats. And they did nothing EITHER. That doesn’t make any sense. They’d been warned.

    Come on, people! You turn everything into a Republican power play to destroy America and its people that earn less than $2 million a year. The Democratic Party would be so much improved if its pundits weren’t always crying wolf to arouse the poor and downtrodden who vote Democratic. Do you have such fear of Republican power? Or such little faith in Democratic resolve and focus? Must one side always be wrong and the other side (your side) always right?

    Face it: Democratic politicians in Congress are achieving little more than the Republican politicians. Maybe you should scale back on opposition rhetoric and dish out some admonition to your side of the aisle.


    • That’s a nice spin on things, but in practice, what happens? Within hours, Texas enacted Voter ID laws which will affect which voting blocks the most? And redistricting schemes which will soon follow almost always benefit which group?


  3. The problem you’re having with it, Peter, is that you’re buying into the majority opinion’s argument without reading Ginsburg’s. Congress DID provide plenty of examples of why the law was still needed. It wasn’t “40 year old data” and Ginsburg cites the recent stuff in her opinion. The majority was dishonest in its approach.


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