Jun
22
2013
8

Why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act may be going away.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is apparently spreading marmalade on his English muffins again:

During oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case, a majority of justices appeared prepared to turn aside the solicitor general’s argument that the law’s requirement that jurisdictions with a track record of racial discrimination preclear any changes to their voting systems with Washington. Justice Antonin Scalia dismissed this feature of the Voting Rights Act—arguably the most important piece of civil-rights legislation in American history—as a distasteful “racial entitlement.” Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing justice, recognized the historical value of the act but nonetheless suggested that the method of identifying which jurisdictions are subject to the requirement had become, over the years, “improper.” “Well, the Marshall Plan was very good, too,” he said, “but times change.”

Bolding mine.  This has always been the snag with keeping Section 5 of the VRA.  Today, very few people would argue that in 1965 the federal government would not have been justified in insisting that individual states respect the US Constitution, particularly the 14th and 15th Amendments.  However, it is almost fifty years later.  The people who were segregationists then are mostly dead of old age.  Their children and grandchildren get (rightfully) offended at the suggestion that they wish to suppress minority voters – because, you understand, integration WON.  These days Section 5 gathers its primary support from its beneficiaries: entrenched minority Democratic politicians, and slightly less entrenched Republican ones*.  I recognize the tactical advantages, but speaking as a good, classical Republican I’m happy to see that Anthony Kennedy is enjoying his marmalade. (more…)

May
31
2013
6

I don’t think ending Section 5 of the VRA will cost the GOP the Senate.

Um, I understand the basic thrust of this argument:

While culture watchers are eagerly anticipating the Court’s decisions relating to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 prohibition on gay marriage, political analysts are far more interested to see how the Court rules on the historic challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. If the Court moves to strike portions of the law relating to the reapportionment preclearance provisions in Section 5 of the VRA, the wailing and rending of garments among liberal and progressive media commentators will dwarf the indignation they expressed over voter identification laws in 2012. Similarly, the focus on that decision and its impact on minority voters could drive up Hispanic and African-American turnout in the 2014 midterm elections. Conservatives may cheer the end of the VRA’s anti-federalist, arbitrarily enforced, preclearance mandates, but they may also be celebrating the eradication of the Republican Party’s chances of retaking the U.S. Senate.

(more…)

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Nov
09
2012
1

Section V of the VRA to be revisited.

Annnnnnnd here we go:

The Supreme Court said Friday it will review a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that has been the federal government’s most forceful tool in protecting minority rights at the polls. The decision ensures that race and civil rights will be the hallmark of the current Supreme Court term.

The challenge to Section 5 of the 1964 Voting Rights Act was launched two years ago, and the court added it to its docket just days after an energized minority electorate played a critical role in the reelection of President Obama, the nation’s first African American president.

…Or, to be considerably more objective than the Washington Post feels like being: (more…)

Mar
14
2012
3

#rsrh Annnnnnnnd here we go: TX wants to challenge Section 5 of VRA.

Guess the state government is still a little ticked at the way that they had to delay their primaries a couple of times.

Texas on Wednesday asked a federal panel weighing its photo ID requirement for voters to allow its attorneys to challenge the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, taking a direct shot at the statue that has blocked the state from enforcing tightened voter requirements.

In a filing to a three-judge panel in Washington, Texas asked to submit a petition charging that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act “exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.”

Go figure.  I mean, doesn’t everybody accept the existence of blood guilt these days?  Silly conservatives. (more…)

Aug
15
2011
1

Michigan redistricting makes John Conyers cry.

Elections have consequences.

Or at least scream: it turns out that the redistricting map for Michigan signed off on by Republican governor Rick Snyder last week seriously discombobulates long-time Democrat and House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers. The new map (which, incidentally, handles Michigan’s loss of a Congressional seat by effectively eliminating Democrat Gary Peters’ seat and making the rest more party-friendly) pretty much took Conyer’s MI-14 seat and redrew it until he had roughly 20% of the same constituents that he started off with.

If you’re wondering why the Republicans think that they can get away with that – particularly since Conyers is an African-American with a majority-minority district – it’s because the Michigan GOP was very careful in drawing this district (and, apparently, MI-13). As I understand it, the new district is in point of fact drawn to reflect the racial gerrymandering requirements of the Voting Rights Act: which is to say, it’s still majority-minority. It’s just no longer friendly to Conyers specifically… which is not the Republican party’s problem. Or the courts’. Or Michigan’s, really. Or possibly even the Democratic party’s: Conyers may have run unopposed in the 2010 primary, but that’s apparently not going to happen now(more…)

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