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.

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: One other thing to note about the President and his poor Supreme Court track record: his major ‘victory’ at the moment – Obamacare – is also the primary reason why the law keeps getting even more and more unpopular.  The President wanted it justified under the Commerce Clause: the Supreme Court closed that down once and for all.  Instead, he got it as a tax, which inevitably led it to be put under the administrative aegis of the Internal Revenue Service… which is currently losing whatever nonpartisan credibility that it once had with the American people.  Which means, happily enough, that partisan attacks on Obamacare are also public-minded defenses against the arrogant overreach of a heavily-politicized and out of control federal agency.

One more such “victory” as that, and Obama is finished.

*Seriously, if you really want to end gerrymandering, you need to eliminate Section 5. After 2010 the GOP and the CBC worked hand-in-glove to create majority-minority districts at the expense of other Democratic ones.

8 thoughts on “Why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act may be going away.”

  1. First thought, gerrymandering bad, let us be rid of it. Second thought, ruination and ashes, we need every thing we can get to stop x.
    Third thought, second thought is wrong, you can’t stop the Democrats by becoming them. a) This is why doing the right thing is hard, it is easy to create excuses. Know your excuses, and be ruthless with them. Politically speaking, it is always possible to gin up ‘huge emergency, must do something’. b) Practically speaking, overly secure seats weaken both parties, being rid of them may help focus the Republican party. c) Clean government is for the sake of not becoming a third world hellhole, which is a step on the path to a normal, common, typical human society (as normed against human history and prehistory). The problem with Obama is that he helps move in that direction. Abandon clean government to fight him, and one might as well get on the ride the rest of the way. If America becomes third world, many of my enemies will suffer, so it would have that ‘advantage’.

    1. I doubt gerrymandering is going away. That said, eliminating section V of the VRA means .. what?
      Far as I can tell, it only means that the Feds (in the person of DOJ chief Holder) lose their right to shoot down any proposed changes as “Racist!”.
      This does nothing to correct the instinct to gerrymander at the State level, which appears – again, to me – to be worse for the Dems than the GOP in most cases.

      1. It means Arizona will start sending more Republicans than Democrats to congress. Right now the Feds have prevented the GOP legislature in AZ from effecting any changes.

        1. IIRC, more than just Arizona are covered by VRA V .. so while it *immediately* affects Arizona, it will have a larger impact the next time States decide to draw maps, i.e. after 2020.

      2. It also means that what happened in Texas during the 2012 primary season is MUCH LESS likely to happen again.

        For those of you not from Texas, a pissed off white racist liberal sued the state to keep her pseudo-majority-minority (40% black, 40% Hispanic) state senate district intact. A compliant DoJ forced the state to redraw the districts, moving the Texas primaries from March (when our votes could of had an effect on the results) to April, and then May (when they were completely irrelevant).

        It could be argued that we would be starting to recover from this recession right now under the auspices of a President Santorum (or Perry, assuming he was off of the post back surgery pain meds long enough to recover from his drugged out debate performances) right now if Texas could have voted when they were supposed to.

        Gerrymandering would not go away, but the gerrymandering that would remain would be more reflective of the state’s voting preferences…

    2. Gerrymandering isn’t going away. In fact, the Supreme Court mandated it in the past, and is unlikely to change this stance.
      Most state congresses have bi-cameral structure, but the SC demanded that state senate seats be apportioned by population, rather than county. As such, geographically small urban population centers are able to absolutely dominate entire states.
      This underlying structure guarantees gerrymandering will continue.
      It just won’t necessarily be through majority-minority districts.

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