Voting rights? So 20th century

Good news for Republicans, the Supreme Court has overturned part of the Voting Rights Act. Apparently the requirement states or counties with a history of vote-blocking preclear new restrictions or regulations on voting is now moot unless Congress passes a new law (which Scott Lemieux notes at the link will be pretty much impossible). Part of the rationale is that we no longer see the same patterns of discrimination as in the 1960s, the law is dead. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg compares this to throwing away your umbrella while walking in the rain because you’re not getting wet.
Which sounds about right. It’s easy to forget that when I was born it was routine for Southern counties and states (and plenty of places outside the South) to rig the game so that blacks simply couldn’t get to vote. As Digby points out, a lot of prominent conservatives applauded. The link quotes National Review’s William F. Buckley asserting “It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.” And so, as black Americans are clearly sub-civilized, the white race is justified in ruling. The quoted article also appears to endorse (though in carefully vague terms) the idea of a jury letting off a white guy for killing or otherwise mistreating blacks (while insisting this was a bad thing).
Given the current right-wing loathing of women’s suffrage and the frequent calls from right-wing politicians to stop college students from voting, I’m sure we’ll see plenty of unpleasant fallout from this decision. Given the Republican white Christian male base is not going to be able to win the White House for them after 2016 (according to estimates I’ve read), they’ve got nothing to lose.
In another decision, the Court ruled that if someone at your workplace harasses you and has authority over you, but can’t actually fire you, he’s not a supervisor. That means any racist/sexist treatment isn’t covered by the Civil Rights Act. Even if someone is in a position to deny you overtime, force you to work in freezing temperature or make your job performance review contingent on sex, that doesn’t make him a supervisor for the purposes of the act. Which I’d agree with Lemieux (and Ginsburg again) is bullshit.
Lemieux also fires back at Clarence Thomas’ dissent in one case that argues any law that takes race into account, even one designed to assist blacks in gaining equality, is unconstitutional.
In other matters:
•Rick Perlstein argues the Democratic Party has always had its right wing, so it’s not surprising the party doesn’t just line up behind liberal policies.
•In between discussions of the NSA and other issues, rightwing bloggers and pundits revert to freaking out about immigration, welfare and gay marriage.
•The FBI proudly reports that it’s investigated 150 shootings by FBI agents and cleared the agency every time.
•Various leaders on the religious right insist they will not “stand by” if the Supreme Court overturns the Defense of Marriage Act. But as Slacktivist asks, what can they do? David Badash wonders if they’re planning to shift to outright violence. The document, reprinted at the second link, recycles the usual bull about how every marriage even before Christianity looked just like the 1950s.


Filed under Politics

2 responses to “Voting rights? So 20th century

  1. I have been very, very disappointed in the country over much of what’s here. At least Proposition 8 got overturned, even if the decision doesn’t affect any other states.

    • frasersherman

      I’m depressed by several people I know agreeing with the court that since we don’t see the Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement, obviously there’s no problem.

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