Will Roberts Court Ditch Voting Rights?

350px-Supreme_Court_US_2010Yesterday the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder case, which may have serious implications for key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This landmark civil rights measure was intended to protect voting rights of minorities in several, mostly southern, states.

The popular argument being made by conservatives, in court and on the talk show circuit, is that states should be treated equally. We agree. We believe that instead of repealing provisions of the Voting Rights Act, we should extend it to all states.

The mere notion that we are even talking about releasing states from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is laughable. Over the last decade one political party has pushed to make it more difficult for citizens to cast their votes. Imagine what they would do if no one was monitoring them.

Actually we know what they would do. Republicans in non-Section 5 states throughout the United States have instituted voter ID laws, restricted voting days and hours, and gerrymandered whenever politically possible. As a result many of these states will have majority Republican congressional delegations for years to come and laws that make it harder to vote.

Based on the arguments today, many are predicting that the court will strike Section 5 down with Justice Anthony Kennedy casting the decisive vote. If that happens Congress will likely be tasked with drafting new voting laws in the near future. And guess who controls Congress? Republicans because of the same gerrymandering practices that section 5 seeks to block.

Comments

  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    Are you living in a parallel universe or am I?
    You wrote, “And guess who controls Congress? Republicans because of the same gerrymandering practices that section 5 seeks to block.”
    In my universe the Democrats control the Senate 53/45 while the Republicans control the House 232/200.

    Of course, gerrymandering is only gerrymandering if done by non-Democrats. If it’s done by Democrats (as it was in Georgia for over 130 years), it’s smart politics.

    • Blaine Coleman says:

      A parallel universe such as the one you inhabit? What good does it do for Democrats to have a majority in the Senate when Republicans have 40 or more seats? It take 60, count them, SIXTY votes to overcome a filibuster. Or have you not noticed that the Senate’s been in near gridlock for years because of- filibusters! You know, that’s a thing in this universe that you must not have in yours. And just what does something Democrats did 130 years ago have to do with today? The Democratic party then was what the Republican party is today, study a bit of US history before you spout off ignorant and clearly uninformed insults of the opinions of others. Pull that limited mind of yours out of the 19th century and check a calendar, bud- it’s 2013 now, you know, the TWENTY-FIRST century NOT the NINETEENTH!
      Just wondering- are you really as stupid as your comment shows or is it all some elaborate hoax to make you look stupid?

      • Burroughston Broch says:

        It is rare for either party to have a filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate, so blaming the Democrat’s poor performance on that is a feeble cop-out.
        The Democrats had a near filibuster-proof majority of 59 seats in the Senate, plus a 255/179 majority in the House, plus the Presidency during the 11th Congress (2009-2011). Even given that rare situation, they were unable to govern effectively. They couldn’t even pass a budget then, as they have not since 2008 (in violation of the Constitution).
        Democrats know how to filibuster as well as the Republicans, as you could learn if you did a little research.
        Since you obviously don’t know Georgia history, let me instruct you. For 130 years, the Democratic Party dominated Georgia state and local politics. From 1872 to 2002, the Democratic Party controlled the Governor’s Mansion, both houses of the state legislature and most statewide offices.
        Much of that total control was due to gerrymandering by the Democrats. That total control ended just 11 years ago.

  2. Burroughston Broch says:

    My Scots-Irish ancestors, like over 75% of immigrants to this country from the UK and Europe prior to the Revolution, came as indentured servants. My lot was indentured for 10 years, meaning that they received no wages but did receive food, accommodation, clothing and training. During this period, they were essentially slaves, were despised and maltreated, and were often sold like property. They had few rights and certainly could not vote.

    They were not slaves forever – for 10 years only – but considering the average life span then was only 36 years, they were slaves almost 30% of their lives. After completing their indentures, they moved to the southern and western frontiers and built their lives where they were respected for who they were and what they could do. They didn’t loudly complain and expect preferential treatment.

    African-Americans will never gain the place in society they want as long as they refuse to put their past behind them. Instead, they continue to drive a wedge between themselves and the rest of society by demanding endless preferential treatment and consideration not provided to others. My ancestors and their descendants didn’t complain about their indentured servitude for 150 years after it ended. If African-Americans really want the past to end, it’s up to them to do so. Eliminating the Voting Rights Act is a good place to start.

  3. shirley says:

    There is no doubt some disenfranchised groups have fared better in climbing the economic ladder. Not every group faced the same challenges or obstacles. According to numerous studies one’s race, gender or class among other distingusihing characerisitics continue to present obstacles to achieving the American Dream. The Voting Rights Act and companion civil rights legislation is designed to close the gap in opportunity and access for those who face and have historically faced discrimination and systemic exclusion. Whether 40 or 50 years of voting rights is enough to undo hundreds of years of discrimination or not will be left up to interpretation and to the courts.