Oral Arguments In Voting Rights Case

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

scaliaOfficial Portrait of Justice Sonia SotomayorThe U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments (pdf) in Shelby County v. Holder, a case involving Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Shelby County, Alabama, is challenging its requirement under Section 5 to get preclearance, from either the United States Attorney General or a three-judge panel of the District Court of the District of Columbia, before making any changes to their voting rules. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court seem to be one-sided with the Justices hammering the attorneys who seem totally unprepared with counter-arguments.

In a statement that drew gasps in the courtroom, J. Scalia called Section 5 a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Later, J. Sotomayor asked the attorney for Shelby County: “Do you think the right to vote is a racial entitlement in Section 5?” Although J. Scalia has been the reigning bully of the Supreme Court, some new Justices are more than capable of standing up to him. It is likely, however, that J. Scalia was referring to the use of Section 5 to create African-American (or Hispanic) voting districts to counteract the practice of vote dilution. J. Sotomayor also called Shelby County’s voting law record “the epitome of what caused the passage of this law to start with.”

It is Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits the gerrymandering of election districts to dilute minorities’ voting power. Under Section 2, either the United States Department of Justice or private citizens can sue election officials. However, this would be a time-consuming process and the racial gerrymandering would continue unless injunctive relief was granted. Section 5 is a procedural VRA section 5 coverage mapmechanism to stop the discrimination before it occurs, but for only those areas shown on the map. As J. Sotomayor noted: “Section 5 was created was because States were moving faster than litigation permitted to catch the new forms of discriminatory practices that were being developed.”

In League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “this divvying us up by race” a “sordid business.” Unfortunately, Chief Justice  Roberts wasn’t writing about the racial gerrymandering that leads to vote dilution, he was writing about the racial gerrymandering that maintains minority voting power. Chief Justice  Roberts also wrote: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Racial gerrymandering that leads to vote dilution is discrimination. As Joey Fishkin writes: “The way to stop Congress from discriminating on the basis of race is to stop all this discrimination on the basis of race.”

UCLA con-law professor Adam Winkler notes the irony of originalists J. Scalia and J. Thomas voting against the Voting Rights Act. Prof. Winkler finds broad agreement among legal historians that the  Fifteenth Amendment’s express grant of authority to Congress to pass “appropriate legislation” was intended to ensure African-American’s right to vote.

The right to vote is more that allowing voter registration. It is more than casting ballots. It is more than having those ballots counted. It is about equal participation in the political process. Vote dilution has the same effect as not counting minority ballots.

The Court is poised to facilitate the “sordid business” of racial gerrymandering designed to exclude African-American and Hispanic participation in the political process.

H/T: Charles P. Pierce, Adam Serwer, Rick Hasen, Scott Lemieux, Roger Clegg, Adam Serwer.

78 thoughts on “Oral Arguments In Voting Rights Case

  1. Nal,

    Roberts is probably the most prepared justice in regards to the voting rights cases. I think he was Ronnie’s boy years ago that already had already presented some cases and hammered the solicitor general fairly well…. Oh the days of Blackmun, Brennan and Marshall…. They should be deciding this case….

  2. Now that the voting rights act is doomed who thinks it will be very long before corporations start wondering why they cannot vote, after all they are people too. After all this whole thing about limiting voting rights to humans seems to make it a species entitlement doesn’t it? Corporations pay taxes dont they? They generally dont but isnt this taxation without representation?

    Its a “sordid business” indeed. The Supreme Corporate Court wrong on the facts, wrong on what used to be the law and the Consitution and well just wrong.

  3. The idea that Scalia is controlling the discussion is disgusting. Of course the Voting Rights Act is still necessary. Just look what States are trying to do to all voters to game the election on behalf of Republicans. How do these guys sleep at night? Maybe Congress should pass a bill that requires all states to get permission before voting rights are limited or restricted. Wouldn’t that solve the the Scalia and Roberts crowd claim that we should stop racially discriminating in order to stop racial discrimination if every state and had to get approval under the voting rights act for any change in voting?? Even the laws they are trying to pass to dilute the electoral college votes?

  4. Martin Bashir | February 28, 2013

    Justice Roberts’ long crusade against the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., discusses whether Justice John Roberts and his conservative majority will correctly “referee” recent arguments about the validity of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – or whether he will continue a decades-long attempt to neuter the law.

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/martin-bashir/50995560/#50995560

  5. A Racial Entitlement? Supreme Court Threatens Voting Rights Act, One of Civil Rights Era’s Key Gains

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/28/supreme_court_review_of_voting_rights

    Excerpt:

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to a clip, going back in history, from a documentary that recently featured King. It’s called A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis. This is President Lyndon Johnson speaking just as he is signing the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Over his shoulder is Dr. Martin Luther King, who speaks next. First, President Johnson.

    PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: Today is a triumph for freedom, as huge as any victory that’s ever been won on any battlefield. This law covers many pages, but the heart of the act is plain. Wherever, by clear and objective standards, states and counties are using regulations or laws or tests to deny the right to vote, then they will be struck down. If it is clear that state officials still intend to discriminate, then federal examiners will be sent in to register all eligible voters. This good Congress, the 89th Congress, acted swiftly in passing this act. And I intend to act with equal dispatch in enforcing this act.

    REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I think the greatest victory of this period was not in terms of an external factor or an external development, but it was something internal. The real victory was what this period did to the psyche of the black man. And the greatness of this period was that we armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect. The greatness of this period was that we straightened our backs up. And a man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.

    AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Martin Luther King and, before him, President Johnson, from King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis, the day President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Ari Berman, where does it go from here, as we hear the significance of this moment when this was signed in 1965?

    ARI BERMAN: Well, it’s been such a transformative law. It’s often been described as the most consequential law passed in the 20th century and really the high watermark of the civil rights movement. And Section 5 is the heart and soul of the Voting Rights Act. So, if the Supreme Court was to get rid of Section 5 or to significantly narrow it, and we will know this in June when a decision comes down, there really is no substitute for it, and it would be a very devastating setback for voting rights, not just in the places where Section 5 is covered, but there’s a thinking that if Section 5 goes, conservatives are going to start challenging those other provisions of the Voting Rights Act, like Section 2, which applies nationwide. The court has already limited Section 2 in many respects. So, this would kind of be like the Citizens United decision for voting rights. It would open the floodgates to more voter suppression laws, more legal challenges, and it would make it difficult to enforce the voting rights laws that are on the books in addition to Section 5. And so, there really is no substitute, and it would be one of the most radical and consequential decisions made by the court in a very long time.

  6. Chief Justice Roberts’ Long War Against the Voting Rights Act
    Roberts has been a critic of the Voting Rights Act for 30 years. Now he will help decide whether the law’s most important section lives or dies.
    —By Adam Serwer
    Feb. 27, 2013
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/john-roberts-long-war-against-voting-rights-act

    Excerpt:
    When he was in his late 20s, John Roberts was a foot soldier in the Reagan administration’s crusade against the Voting Rights Act. Now, as chief justice of the Supreme Court, he will help determine whether a key part of the law survives a constitutional challenge.

    Memos that Roberts wrote as a lawyer in President Reagan’s Justice Department during the 1980s show that he was deeply involved in efforts to curtail the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, the hard-won landmark 1965 law that is intended to ensure all Americans can vote. Roberts’ anti-VRA efforts during the 1980s ultimately failed…

  7. “And a man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” (MLK)

    This is a back bender move all dressed up for the “we must remain relevant” ball. It was bound to happen given the power from the voting booth that swept Obama into the Oval Office.

    It’s a desperate move by desperate people who are counting on their supporters on the bench to “make this happen”.

    This move is just as dangerous to the future of our democracy as any terrorist attack.

  8. SwM,

    Sotomayor is one woman I would like to meet for lunch.

    Your daughter is making the most of opportunities that come her way and I suspect this is going to lead to a very fulfilling career that will contribute a great deal to the advancement of our civilization.

  9. Scalia has been a whore for the Elite for his entire career and a racist to boot. No doubt he longs for their approval and acceptance and if he has to be a lapdog to get it he barks like a Chihuahua.

  10. Blouise,
    You are correct. This attack on the voting rights act protections along with the nationwide attack on the right to vote and the attempts to steal electoral college votes is political terrorism. The rabble cannot be allowed to vote because the wealthy and the corporations know better.

  11. I wonder if Nino’s good friend, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, believes him to be the “racist” some folks here throw around like a baseball.

  12. nick spinelli 1, March 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I wonder if Nino’s good friend, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, believes him to be the “racist” some folks here throw around like a baseball.
    =============================================
    I think it depends on whether or not she is listening to what he is saying.

  13. Dredd, Come on!! Ginsburg is a smart, perceptive, philosophical woman. The fact that the two are GOOD friends says a lot to me about BOTH. Many here could learn a lesson from them. I have little, if any doubt, that Ginsburg would be good friends w/ Scalia if she saw him as the “racist” folks here accuse him of being. Words like “racist” sexist” “homophobe” fly around here like hummingbirds in a flowery meadow.

  14. “believes him to be the “racist” some folks here throw around like a baseball.”

    So Nick,

    Do you believe calling Scalia a racist is unfair and if so why? Also since I was the first commenter to directly call him a racist, am I among the “some folks” you refer to? Also by mentioning Ruth Bader Ginzburg’s friendship with Scalia was that supposed to be a rebuke to me because she is Jewish? Just some questions about a rather vague comment whose implications you don’t seem willing to own up to.

    Then again do you have any Italian friends that call Black people “mulignan’s”?

    Now my calling Scalia a racist actually has some currency since he called the Law a ““perpetuation of racial entitlement.”. Of course that also may be your point of view since you repeat over and again here that we all should be color blind and everything will just work out fine. That’s a good message to give those people who suffer from this: http://jonathanturley.org/2011/11/26/the-incarceration-of-black-men-in-america/ . Incidentally, I don’t think your particular problem is racism. Your problem is that you are so entwined in your own political beliefs, that you view everything through that narrow prism and thus miss the forest for the trees.

  15. “I have little, if any doubt, that Ginsburg would be good friends w/ Scalia if she saw him as the “racist” folks here accuse him of being.”

    Nick,

    As usual the evidence you present to back up your views is silly and childish.

  16. Mike S,

    Though I loath Scalia in many ways, I think he is not really as much of a racist…. Thomas on the other hand…. Very much so….

    I do however agree with nick on calling a spade a spade…. For some it’s ok to use flowery language while others get chastised for the same vernacular….

  17. I’ve been receiving a lot of free psychological evaluations lately. Are there any proctologists on staff here? My hemmorhoids have been acting up lately.

  18. So Mr. Spindell calls J. Scalia a racist and then asserts that Mr. Spinelli must prove the Justice is not one? Wow.

  19. “So Mr. Spindell calls J. Scalia a racist and then asserts that Mr. Spinelli must prove the Justice is not one? Wow.”

    Mahtso,

    As usual you mis-characterize rather than read. I am asserting that Scalia is a racist and offering his statement as proof. I am not stating Nick “must” do anything at all, but I do reject that Ginsburg being “friends” with Scalia proves anything.

    “My hemmorhoids have been acting up lately.”

    Nick,

    I would suspect your problems if any, have something to do with your ass smoking, or maybe being one.

  20. “Rachel Maddow had some choice words for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during an appearance on Thursday’s “Daily Show.”

    Maddow told Jon Stewart that she had been flabbergasted to be watching Scalia and his fellow conservative justices lambasting the Voting Rights Act at the same time as a statue honoring Rosa Parks was being unveiled at the Capitol Building nearby. She particularly took umbrage at Scalia’s line that the law was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” comparing him to an Internet “troll”:

    “He’s a troll. He’s saying this for effect. He knows it’s offensive and he knows he’s going to get a gasp from the courtroom, which he got, and he loves it. He’s like the guy on your blog comment thread who is using the n-word. ‘Oh, it made you mad? How about if I say this? Does it make you mad? Did it make you mad? Did it make you mad?’ He’s that guy! He’s that kind of guy! When we’re all shocked that he said something so blatantly racially offensive while talking about the cornerstone of the federal Civil Rights Act, he’s thinking, ‘Oh yeah!'” Huffington Post

  21. Justice Holmes 1, March 2, 2013 at 9:28 am

    “Now that the voting rights act is doomed who thinks it will be very long before corporations start wondering why they cannot vote, after all they are people too.”

    Actually, a bill was presented in a state legislature to do just that. The bill probably won’t make it out of committee, but the move has started. The article came out in the last week or so. I can’t find it now, but it I do, I’ll post it.

  22. SwM,

    Like Justice Holmes said on another thread: “We have celebrities but no leaders.”

    Scalia courts celebrity.

  23. The discussion of this Electoral College has us perplexed. Where is it located and what do the graduates do and what kind of degrees do they receive? We in our group have read up on the “Originalist” thinking of this Scalia guy. What would the Framers have thought about two Italians, one negro, three or is it four women, on this present Court? It is odd that one of the Italians is a trumpet for the Originalists. The “entitlement” word he uses is also odd. One commenter on this blog speaks to he and the other Justices being enttitled to free health care just because they sit on the Court. Not insurance, but health care for life, for Justice and family, in retirement, til death. That is an entitlement. All paid for on the taxpayer’s dime. Inquiry minds want to know.

  24. Raf, “The rabble cannot be allowed to vote because the wealthy and the corporations know better.”
    ******

    Scalia essentially said that about Congress being the author of a law as important as the voting rights act. He’s not only a racist he’s not a fan of democracy IMO:

    _______
    From transcript:

    “I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there’s a good reason for it.

    That’s the — that’s the concern that those of us who — who have some questions about this statute have. It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now. And even the Virginia Senators, they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.

    Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”
    ______

    Right, the really important questions shouldn’t be left up to Congress because they may actually cater to their constituents or vote for the good of the country, ’cause, you know, democracy. BUT, this is a new position for him because in a statement regarding sex discrimination (It’s not prohibited by the 14 Amendment according to our esteemed Justice) all you need is a legislature and ballot box to change the way a state or country does business:

    ______
    “Q. In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

    A. Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
    _______

    Scalia’s arguments are whatever shores up his world view, that they contradict themselves is unimportant. It’s all about how he feels.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/27/1646891/scalia-voting-rights-act-is-perpetuation-of-racial-entitlement/?mobile=nc

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/03/scalia-women-discrimination-constitution_n_803813.html

  25. Scalia? I think he’s a smug, pompous a** who believes he’s smarter than everyone else. He doesn’t need to listen to the opinions and rationale of others because he’s always right. He likes the company of mega wealthy businessmen like the Koch brothers. I don’t think he’s the most ethical justice on the Supreme Court.

  26. Antonin Scalia’s uber-activism
    Feb 28th 2013
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/02/voting-rights-act

    Excerpt:
    WEDNESDAY’S oral argument at the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 brought an extraordinary piece of analysis from Justice Antonin Scalia—a comment that drew gasps from the audience. The law’s utility as a shield against voting practices that discriminate based on race, Mr Scalia suggested, had evaporated. He argued that requiring nine Southern states and sections of seven others, all with a history of discrimination, to “pre-clear” changes to voting procedures with the Justice Department is now needless interference with “state sovereignty”.

    Analysing the most recent reauthorisation of the act in 2006, Mr Scalia explained away its lopsided support in the Senate (98-0) and House of Representatives (390-33):

    And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same….I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

    After his comment caused a minor stir in the courtroom, Mr Scalia added:

    I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless—unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution… [T]his is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress….Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?

    This is not Mr Scalia’s first impolitic outburst. But for a justice who stakes his jurisprudence on deferring to the democratically elected branches of government, it is a stunning line of reasoning. Consider, by comparison, Mr Scalia’s endorsement of Justice Benjamin Cordozo’s 1933 statement decrying judicial second-guessing of legislative acts:

    We do not pause to consider whether a statute differently conceived and framed would yield results more consonant with fairness and reason. We take the statute as we find it.

    And recall Mr Scalia’s claim in the 1990 euthanasia case Cruzan v Missouri that it is not for judges to decide when a patient’s life is “worthless”, but “it is up to the citizens of Missouri to decide, through their elected representatives, whether that wish [to end a life] will be honored.”

    So why not let the people’s elected representatives handle the matter of racial discrimination and voting? Why, in this case, does Mr Scalia believe he should substitute his views for those of legislators? Members of Congress, after all, considered 12,000 pages worth of testimony in 2006, which showed “pervasive discrimination” in the covered districts. As Justice Elena Kagan said yesterday to Burt Rein, the attorney for the petitioner, “that’s a big, new power that you are giving us…the power now to decide whether racial discrimination has been solved. I did not think that that fell within our bailiwick.”

    For a justice who sniffs out closet activism even in his fellow conservative justices—in 2007 he criticised Chief Justice John Roberts for exercising “faux judicial restraint”—Mr Scalia apparently finds the Voting Rights Act to be a uniquely egregious specimen of legislative incompetence. While Mr Scalia has voted to overturn congressional laws from time to time, such as in City of Boerne v Flores (which got a brief mention during Wednesday’s argument), never has he couched his judicial activism in such cynical terms. We cannot trust the Congress to legislate earnestly on questions of race, Mr Scalia implied, because senators and representatives feel bound to uphold “racial entitlements” that their forebears have enacted. Political correctness rules.

  27. Massachusetts official challenges Chief Justice Roberts’ claim about voting
    Galvin rebukes nation’s top judge
    Boston Globe
    By Akilah Johnson
    February 28, 2013
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/03/01/massachusetts-official-challenges-chief-justice-roberts-claim-about-voting/u8rYN2MVzc3GOdq4cWyYEK/story.html

    Excerpts:
    Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. certainly sounded authoritative when he made a striking, though unflattering, declaration about Massachusetts as the high court heard arguments over the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is ­designed to assure equal access across ­races to polling booths.

    “Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American voter turnout?” Roberts asked Donald Verrilli Jr., solicitor general for the Department of Justice, during Wednesday’s arguments.

    “I do not know that,” Verrilli answered.

    “Massachusetts,” Roberts responded, adding that even Mississippi has a narrower gap.

    Roberts later asked if Verrilli knew which state has the greatest disparity in registration. Again, Roberts said it was Massachusetts.

    The problem is, Roberts is woefully wrong on those points, according to Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who on Thursday branded Roberts’s assertion a slur and made a declaration of his own. “I’m calling him out,” Galvin said.

    Galvin was not alone in his view. Academics and Massachusetts politicians said that Roberts appeared to be misguided. A Supreme Court spokeswoman declined to offer supporting evidence of ­Roberts’s view, referring a ­reporter to the court transcript.

    On Thursday, Galvin tried to set the record straight. “We have one of the highest voter registrations in the country,” he said, “so this whole effort to make a cheap-shot point at Massachusetts is deceptive.”

    *****

    Galvin and political scientists speculated that Roberts drew his conclusions using US Census Bureau data known as “The Current Population Survey,” which collects information on voting and registration every other year. Political scientists say this is one of the few national databases, if not the only one, providing state-by-state voting information.

    But a review of those census data appears to contradict ­Roberts, showing such states as Washington, Arizona, and ­Minnesota with similar if not bigger gaps between black and white voters.

    “The concept of black communities in Massachusetts not voting is an old slur, and it’s not true,” Galvin said. “I guess the point [Roberts] is trying to make is Mississippi is doing so much better they don’t need the Voting Rights Act. He can still relay that conclusion, but he shouldn’t be using phony statistics. It’s deceptive, and it’s truly disturbing.”

  28. Bettykath, If I had read the comments before posting I’d have asked you if that was the article you were referencing or if there was more than one insane legislator acting out this week. :-) I’ve noticed that you don’t miss much and I enjoy your postings.

  29. A Little More From The Chambers
    By Charles P. Pierce
    2/27/13
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/antonin-scalia-racial-entitlement-022713

    WASHINGTON — It’s become clear that Antonin (Short Time) Scalia’s “racial entitlement” is going to be the primary noise-bite out of the Supreme Court today. It doesn’t matter that whatever point Scalia was making was completely incoherent. By what possible standard is Section V of the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement”? Who, precisely, is being entitled? And to what? The Voting Rights Act does not confer a government benefit to any one race or another. It merely makes sure that the rights guaranteed under the 15th Amendment are not finagled with out in certain parts of the country that have proven, through history, as being deft at said finagling. The reason that African Americans have been the primary beneficiaries of this law is the simple fact that they were its primary victims. The Voting Rights Act doesn’t privilege their votes over any others. It just guarantees that they can be cast, and that they will be counted. But Scalia doesn’t care at this point whether he makes sense. He’s just interested in throwing whatever rocks through whatever windows he can find. He called it a “racial entitlement” because putting those two words together in any context is bound to cause a reaction. He’s one step away from calling Rush from behind the bench.

    Also, too: it has become plain that, for the Roberts court, and for the Chief Justice from whom it bears its name, Citizens United is going to be the hill on which they die. It is central to its judicial legacy. It defines Roberts’s tenure as chief justice. (When the Court declined to hear the so-called “Citizens United on steroids” case this week, it can be argued, it did so in order to protect the Citizens United ruling itself as a “moderate” decision in the field of campaign finance.) It cements into place principles — corporate personhood, money as speech — that prevailed during the previous Gilded Age, which also happened to be the period of history in which racial discrimination in the law, and especially at the ballot box, through Plessy v. Ferguson and its progeny. Plessy was decided by a Court that was pretending that it didn’t know what it was doing, and that was completely heedless of the inevitable effect of its ruling. That was plain to Justice John Marshall Harlan, who wrote a howling dissent:

    Everyone knows that the statute in question had its origin in the purpose, not so much to exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or assigned to white persons. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination among whites in the matter of accommodation for travelers. The thing to accomplish was, under the guise of giving equal accommodation for whites and blacks, to compel the latter to keep to themselves while traveling in railroad passenger coaches. No one would be so wanting in candor as to assert the contrary.

    If the Roberts Court declares Section V of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional, as seems sadly likely, it will have complete a historically resonant parlay through which corporate influence over elections is enhanced while minority participation is made more difficult. This did not work out very well the last time, and it is unlikely to work out well now.

  30. In the aftermath of the school desegregation case styled Brown v. Board of Education, the RepubliCons devised their devide and conquor strategy of going after the Southern bigot vote and the Northern bigot vote as well. Lee Atwater from South Carolina worked on this and proclaimed a Southern Strategy which, after Goldwater lost to LBJ in 1964, was adopted by Nixon and then Reagun and every RepubliCon since.

    The first phase was the IMPEACH EARL WARREN caompaiign. The bigots did not just concentrate on Brown v. Board of Education and desegreation cases but that was the main thrust.

    Now that we have a self proclaimed bigot on the Court, due to the Southern Strategy and the RepuliCon Presidents who were put in office to implement the Southern Stratgey who put the bigots on the Court, there must be a response from real Americans. IMPEACH SCALIA, ALITO, THOMAS, ROBETS AND UNCLE CLARENCE. We need bumper stickers, yard signs, and statements on the Web.

    Some of the minority folks living around here have begun to substitute the term “Uncle Clarence” for “Uncle Tom” when they wish to denote a suck uttBay black guy who belives in the plantation lifestyle. Clarence Thomas from Pin Point, Georgia has earned the nickname and he needs to go back to the “Cabin”.

    On the day that the decision in the Voting Rights Act comes out this dog will have his bumper stickers all printed up.
    The first one: IMPEACH SCALIA–One Less Bigot On The Court

  31. I will go ya one better BarkinDog. The dogpac got together last night and after reading the blog here on the big dogalogue machine screen about this bigot statement in oral argument we decided to form a new group.

    Citizen Dogs United.
    Our first effort will be to impeach Scalia. The Citizens United case was bad enough and the bigots on the Court sidle up to the Koch Brothers so much that they have to go. Uncle Clarence proved his quietude mettle when he did not say a word after Scalia made his racsist statement about black entitlement. Kennedy has an opportunity to move away from this dumb bigot Klan of Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Roberts.
    Kennedy: Pull Out Now – Like Your Father Should Have At Conception Time.

  32. Citizen Dogs United wants your support to help impeach Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Uncle Clarence Thomas. Remember the Barry Goldvasser days and the Impeach Earl Warren signs and bumper stickers? Well, it is time to strike back. We need your help. Write your Congressman or woman and ask hem to initiate an impeachment measure in the House. It then can go to the Senate for an Impeachment Trial. This Scalia statement about racial entitlements regarding our voting rights is worse than Bill Clinton porking that girlfriend with the cigar.

  33. Citizen Dogs United seeks the blogsters here on the Turleyblog to bark out on this important Voting Rights Act case. When the Court strikes down the Act we need your support. Write your Congress person to reauthorize the Act in entireity. Write them also to impeach the four bigots. Uncle Clarence is worse than cheap shot Scalia.

  34. If you are a dog living in the District of Columbia, take a romp by the Court and leave a dump on the steps for me.

  35. To some humans a dog is an all important friend and counselor. George Vest, a Missouri lawyer filed a lawsuit against some guy who had killed a man’s dog. This is the summation he made to the Jury in that trial:

    Eulogy For The Dog:

    “Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
    Gentlemen of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
    If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”

    Who let the dogs out? You ask. God did, on the Eighth Day.

  36. One can Google the Eulogy For The Dog and find the story about George Vest and his lawsuit over the murder of a dog. It is a great story. When dogs talk (and dogs do talk) people listen. The call for the Impeachment of Scalia and the UnreConstructed gang of four needs to be sent forth across this nation. These “Go pick cotton and shut up” attitudes have no place on the Supreme Court of the United States.

    By the way. Where did Scalia get that dork hat he is wearing in the photo?

  37. rafflaw/AY:

    can you explain to me how racial gerrymandering works? I have never heard of it. I understand regular gerrymandering but that is done by both parties to gain seats.

    Maybe they just need to make a law to set the country up on some sort of grid system and quit gerrymandering altogether?

    Make the rectangles a certain area and not worry about population density. Each rectangle is so many degrees north and south and so many miles east and west. And thats it.

  38. Bron,

    Just like regular gerrymandering… Except you use a quote minority area to make up the electorate…. End quote… I’m sure some see it as devisive… And racial preferences…. As society grows and the whites comprise less than 50 percent of the voting power…. I can see where some are against preferences…. But there are some areas that its still needed in… Take for instance Shebly, Alabama… The test case before the Sct is one that was specifically targeted….

  39. I think you answered you question bron…. But as we get closer to the white no longer being the majotity…. Will there be a need?

    If you think in terms if Afirnative Action… The whites will benefit because of the laws in place… If you catch my drift..

  40. Bron,
    A congressional district does not have to be in a rectangular shape and can be configured in many ways to reach the desired population and demographic.

  41. Bron,
    At the bottom of this comment is a story about of the Republican plan to gerrymander electoral votes instead of winner-take-all in Presidential elections. A similar strategy is planned for for House districts. Of course, the Senate is winner take all for whole states, so it is not possible to gerrymander them.

    Your suggestion is not a bad one regarding checkerboarding districts. As was pointed out, that is not really feasable due to practical constraints. I have another idea that has been percolating in my head ever since I first learned of gerrymandering in eighth grade Civics. It is even more workable now that we have computers instead of cartography the old fashioned way. I suggest that all congressional districts in a state be drawn with the shortest border length, within constraints of geographic limitations, such as rivers, canyons or mountain ridges. We could add major highways into that formula as well.

    I am also sick and tired of national elections being decided by state lines. Those rules were drawn up in the days of horseback couriers. Since the President and Vice-President are the official administrators of the entire county, run the election that way. A single nationwide general election. All votes thrown into the same pot instead of for electors. That would eliminate problems such as those caused by crooked election clerks in a single small area from being able to throw a whole election by “suddenly discovering” a few hundred votes that had “accidentally” not been counted. And also make gerrymandering irrelevant.

    http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/24/we-did-the-math-how-the-gop-will-gerrymander-its-way-back-to-the-white-house/

  42. Bron, racial gerrymandering can also work as vote dilution which is an old tactic. If in your city African Americans lived in one generally contiguous area of the city, were all in one district, and they voted primarily democratic their influence could be diluted if, when redistricted, that district was cut up into small pieces and those pieces stuck in overwhelmingly Caucasian, republican districts.

    This is also racial gerrymandering and one of the things that the voting rights act was set up to rectify. From Scalia’s remarks he seems to have a problem with that noting that now, some all black districts have been set up. I would like to know if they are contiguous areas that had been chopped up previously to dilute blocks of voters. I can see this being a serious issue for some western states that have cities with areas with a high concentration of Hispanic voters or southern states, like Florida that have Latino voters in concentration in some areas.

    Scalia has and agenda, he’s a partisan as well as a racist IMO.

  43. I was at oral argument in the Supreme Court of Virginia once in 1988 and heard a case brought by some lawyer from Spartanburg, VA. He started off:

    “Yo Honazz, I’m [forgot his name] from Spartanburg, Vijinnya, representin appellant in this heah case. Yo Honnaz, may it please the coat, this heah’s a coon doag case. My client’s coon doag was run ovah by the appellee’s vee-hickle. The jurih didden unnestann — they got confused on the isshas of liahbilitih and valyuh, Yo Honnazz… [drone drone drone drone drone…]

    so I wrote this little ditty to the music of the “Turkey in the Straw” —

    May it please the coat,
    Well yo honnaz lissen here,
    let me put this stoarih in yo honnable ear,
    well the jurih got confused and they didden unnerstan..
    may it please…the…coat.

    May it please…the…coat
    well the doaggie, he is dayd!
    The defendant’s vee-hickle knocked him IN THE HAYD!
    well the jurih got confused and they didden unnerstan..
    may it please…the…coat. …

    blah blah blah…
    [dedicated to BarkinDoag]…

  44. Bron,

    With OS’s great piece and Lks you should be in great shape to understand how it works.

    I also have to agree with OS’s succinct ability to elect the president and veep….

    No one who has responded to you bron has done so in a bias manner…

  45. “. Divide and conquer: Texas “cracked” minority voters out of one district into three.

    One common tactic of racial gerrymandering is “cracking” a minority community into different districts so it cannot elect a minority politician.

    Looking at a State Senate district in Fort Worth, the judges cited testimony that lawmakers reshaped the district in a way that “cracked the politically cohesive and geographically concentrated Latino and African American communities,” and placed those voters “in districts in which they have no opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.”

    The judges cited “well supported” testimony that African Americans in Fort Worth had been “exported” into a rural, “Anglo-controlled” district to the South, while Latinos on the North side of the city had been put into another white, suburban district, leaving the “reconfigured” Senate District 10 a “majority Anglo” district.

    The judges rejected Texas’ argument that “its decision to ‘crack’ [Senate District] 10 is best explained by partisan, not racial, goals,” and concluded that the district map “was enacted with discriminatory purpose.” Propublica

  46. There are four, not three, UnReconstructed igotBays on the Supreme Court: Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Uncle Clarence. A black person who goes along with igotBays is one himself because it takes one to know one.
    Someone who believes that the Voting Rights Act is for the “perpetuation of racial entitlements” is also and idiot. An idiot is someone who went in dumb and come out dumb too. It is like someone who got off the boat, could not read or write and could not learn to read or write. It is like someone from New York who thinks the Mets are better than the Cardinals. Or someone from Jersey who thinks that New York is a suburb. Or someone from Yale who thinks their itShay dont stink. Or someone who speaks latin who knows nothing of piglatin. Or someone from WordPress who wont let a female dog be called by her real name.

  47. LK,

    You’re most welcome… The first reported Sct case Marburry V Maddison was the culmination if partisan politics reported…. It established and in my opinion legitimize the Sct as it operates today…

  48. The Fifthteenth Amendment confers the right to vote upon the freedmen. It reads:

    Amendment XV. fn7 [ Annotations ]
    Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
    Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    …. end

    Congress knew that they would have to produce statutory Acts to enforce the Constitutional provision once ratified by the states. The Reconstruction era ebbed. It could not be done. The South and many areas of the North set up laws that prevented negro voting. How many bubbles in a bar of soap Mr. Scalia. Oh, ten thousand. You are right, go vote mister Italian just off the boat. Next. Oh Clarence. Ten thousand? wrong. Go back to Pin Point and maybe your son will get a chance to vote.
    It took Lyndon Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The statute provides that certain bigot states have to clear new legislation with special courts to pass muster.
    Uncle Clarence sitting n the Court must be content with his voting rights back in Pin Point, Georgia, because, as normal, he did not utter a peep when Scalia made, during oral argument, his dumb affirmative statement about black entitlements conferred by the statute.

    Impeach Antonin Scalia!

  49. Yeah, that used to be Uncle Tom’s Cabin but Clarence rewrote the book on being a Koch Brother. Get it….. Brother.

  50. Segregation now, Segregation tomorrow, Segregation forever. George Wallace.

    Yeah, Wallace’s homestate is gonna stop their efforts to keep from voting. Justice Scalia needs to get a job doing divorces in Queens and get off the Court. Turdy turd and a turd.

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