Delivered March 15, 1965, Washington, D.C.
I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.
I urge every member of both parties—Americans of all religions and of all colors—from every section of this country—to join me in that cause.
At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.
There is no Negro problem. There is no southern problem. There is no northern problem. There is only an American problem.
And we are met here tonight as Americans—not as Democrats or Republicans—we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.
This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, north and south: “All men are created equal” — “Government by consent of the governed” — “Give me liberty or give me death.”…
Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in man’s possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being….
Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.
Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes….
Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books—and I have helped to put three of them there—can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.
In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution.
We must now act in obedience to that oath.
Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote….
To those who seek to avoid action by their National Government in their home communities—who want to and who seek to maintain purely local control over elections—the answer is simple. Open your polling places to all your people. Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin. Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen of this land. There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong—deadly wrong—to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.
I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer….
But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.
Their cause must be our cause too, because it is not just Negroes but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome….
This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all—all black and white, all North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies—poverty, ignorance, disease—they are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too—poverty, disease, and ignorance—we shall overcome.
Montgomery Advertiser, February 26, 2013: Has South changed enough to end Voting Rights Act?
Lyndon Johnson had been a southern U.S. Senator from Texas.
He had fought all civil rights legislation with as zealous an effort as the other bloc of southern senators. This southern bloc of U.S. Senators totally controlled the Senate through their seniority and prowess. They were a formidable coalition. However, Lyndon had now become a national politician. He had ascended to the presidency at the death of John Kennedy and aspired to win the brass ring on his own in 1964.
When Lyndon Johnson set his sights on something nothing or nobody better get in his way. Whatever it took or by whatever means necessary, Lyndon Johnson was determined to win.
Johnson called George Wallace to the White House to meet with him. Wallace was cocky and full of vim and vinegar. At barely 5’8” he was like a bantam rooster. Although he was used to being the cock of the walk, it did not take long for the tall, tough, crude, intimidating Johnson to put Wallace in his place.
Johnson scowled at Wallace and told him he was nothing more than a redneck, tin horn demagogue and he could shout segregation and racist jargon as much as he wanted but it was not going to make a bit of difference. Johnson went on to say that by the end of the year he was going to pass a civil rights bill and sign it. He told Wallace that Strom Thurmond and his allies could filibuster all they wanted but at the end of the day it was going to be the law of the land and it was going to propel Johnson to victory in 1964. Wallace came back to Alabama with his hat in hand. He knew Johnson meant business.
The bill passed and Johnson signed it. Being a southerner Lyndon Johnson knew the ramifications when he signed the Civil Rights Act. He looked up and said, I have just signed the South over to the Republican Party. His words were prophetic….
In 1965, Johnson set his sights on a higher goal and passed the Voting Rights Act. He took aim at the Deep South and bestowed his renowned retribution extraction in Section 4B and Section 5. It requires that those five states and certain regions that voted for Goldwater must have any changes to their voting laws or procedures approved by the U.S. Justice Department.
I was shocked earlier today, when I read the news reports of what was coming out of the mouths of SCOTUS.
Then, while reading some other articles quoting what Obama had previously said about the Voting Rights case currently going before the Supreme Court…I was shocked again.
Check this out…This is the first article/commentary I read this morning. Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’
There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”
That was an unusual comment when it was made, but Scalia’s expansion on it today raises concerns that his suspicion of the Act is rooted much more in racial resentment than in a general distrust of unanimous votes. Scalia noted when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965, it passed over 19 dissenters. In subsequent reauthorizations, the number of dissenters diminished, until it passed the Senate without dissent seven years ago. Scalia’s comments suggested that this occurred, not because of a growing national consensus that racial disenfranchisement is unacceptable, but because lawmakers are too afraid to be tarred as racists. His inflammatory claim that the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” came close to the end of a long statement on why he found a landmark law preventing race discrimination in voting to be suspicious.
It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.
I knew Scalia was an ass…but what the hell is he doing making statements like this…statements that sound like something one of the talking heads at Fox News would say.
And when I saw that, I began to dig into the Voting Right Act, and what Obama had to say about the case. This was the second article/commentary I read about this subject: Supreme Court justices hint at striking Voting Rights Act provision
Even before Wednesday’s oral arguments, there were signs that Section 5 might be in trouble. The Supreme Court expressed “serious misgivings” about the provision in a 2009 case, saying the requirements intruded into an area that has traditionally belonged to state and local governments.
The court avoided a broad ruling on constitutional grounds in that case, but its decision to take up the issue again four years later was seen as a strong indication that those misgivings had grown.
President Obama also seemed to signal last week that a loss at the Supreme Court was possible, if not likely. Obama said in a local television interview last week that losing Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act would not cause people to lose their right to vote.
“People will still have the same rights not to be discriminated against when it comes to voting,” Obama said. “You just won’t have this mechanism, this tool, that allows you to kind of stay ahead of certain practices.”
Say…What the fuck? Obama, a black man, does not seem to be too concerned over the Supremes fucking with Section 5?
Here’s the SCOTUSblog’s take on today’s courtroom events:
You can read the court transcript here: 12-96.exe – 12-96.pdf
Newspapers and MSM news outlets had their usual reporting of the hearing today:
I could not find any mention on CNN, as I said…usual reporting.
I also could not find a comment from Fox News, again the usual reporting, since Scalia was pushing their usual talking points.
But the blogging world went nuts over Scalia…and the rest of the Courts comments today.
Charlie has a lot to say, he wrote a bunch of post during the day as events unfolded. But here is what he had to say about Scalia: A Little More From The Chambers – Esquire
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.
Here goes the Republican Party’s latest serious attempt to get rid of that troublesome Voting Rights Act that they’ve hated with a special vitriol ever since it was enacted: Voting Rights Act Takes a Beating in the Supreme Court.
The right wing justices are sounding a lot like right wing bloggers.
From the Grio: Voting rights law gets Supreme Court challenge | theGrio
From American Prospect: Today in Magical Beliefs about Racism
Despite the wide flexibility of Section 5—and the extent to which some areas are more likely to violate voting rights than others—conservatives have attacked this provision as “onerous,” “unfair,” and tantamount to reverse discrimination. Conservative members of the Court also followed this line of thinking. Justice Antonin Scalia described the provision as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement”—as if it’s unreasonable to apply extra scrutiny to states that subjugated or disenfranchised their black populations for more than 180 years—and Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether it’s “the government’s submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than the citizens in the North?”Two things. First, I remain baffled by the view that racial discrimination—much less inequality—has dissolved in the nearly 50 years since Congress passed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Yes, we’ve largely overcome overt discrimination, but more subtle forms still exist. Beyond that, it’s important to note—as Ed Kilgore does at the Washington Monthly—that Jim Crow is still within living memory for millions of Americans. Indeed, the baby boomers—including the large majority of our lawmakers—were children when Emmett Till was murdered, and teenagers when George Wallace promised to defend segregation in perpetuity.
Please read the rest of this post, as well as all the ones I link to today. They are too good to pass up.
And from Shakesville, the best one of the lot: Shakesville: Reminder: Antonin Scalia is a Racist Asshole
Antonin Scalia argued today that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is a “racial entitlement.”
He further argued that the increasing popularity of the Act (reauthorized by the Senate in 2006 by a vote of 98-0) reflected the rising fear of being called racist, not a rising general consensus that limiting voting rights by race is a proundly undemocratic and shitty thing to do.
One question: if the fear of being *called* a racist is so intimidating that people will stop *doing* racist things, then exactly how often do we need to call Antonin Scalia a HUGE fucking racist before he changes his ways?
(Answer: Cannot compute at this time. We’re going to have to invent some entirely new math, Isaac Newton style, because Scalia’s racist assholery is truly beyond the measurement of our current science.)
I find all this disturbing, especially when you think about the recent decision from the Census Bureau to stop using the word Negro.
After more than a century, the Census Bureau is dropping its use of the word “Negro” to describe black Americans in surveys.Instead of the term that came into use during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, census forms will use the more modern labels “black” or “African-American”.The change will take effect next year when the Census Bureau distributes its annual American Community Survey to more than 3.5 million U.S. households, Nicholas Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch, said in an interview.He pointed to months of public feedback and census research that concluded few black Americans still identify with being Negro and many view the term as “offensive and outdated.”
“This is a reflection of changing times, changing vocabularies and changing understandings of what race means in this country,” said Matthew Snipp, a sociology professor at Stanford University, who writes frequently on race and ethnicity. “For younger African-Americans, the term ‘Negro’ harkens back to the era when African-Americans were second-class citizens in this country.”
First used in the census in 1900, “Negro” became the most common way of referring to black Americans through most of the early 20th century, during a time of racial inequality and segregation. “Negro” itself had taken the place of “colored.” Starting with the 1960s civil rights movement, black activists began to reject the “Negro” label and came to identify themselves as black or African-American.
What did Scalia call the Voting Rights Act again? A “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
Let’s end this with a funny story.
Earlier this week we looked at a paper that examined the physics behind the train stop scene in Spider-Man 2 that put a little science before our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but that clearly wasn’t enough for the people at Fox’s Animation Domination High Def. They went a few steps further to create Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man to give us a look a what a real man/spider hybrid would look like, and it isn’t pretty. It’s also not safe for work, unless your work is writing about weirdly graphic Spider-Man parody cartoons. Then you’re probably fine.
There’s a lot of things about Spider-Man that don’t make scientific sense that we just kind of accept because the alternative is too bizarre. One example is that spiders don’t shoot webs from their wrists, they shoot them from the general vicinity of their butts. Those little hairs Spidey uses to climb walls? They’d be all over his body, not just his hands and feet.
Basically, if your genes were mutated with spider DNA you would turn into a monster, not a superhero.
|Wall Street Journal||- 35 minutes ago||
|NBCNews.com (blog)||- 48 minutes ago||
|Houston Chronicle||- 22 minutes ago||
|San Francisco Chronicle||- 1 hour ago||
|Washington Post||- 2 hours ago||
|NorthJersey.com||- 2 hours ago||
|USA TODAY||- 22 hours ago||
|USA TODAY||- 22 hours ago||
|Washington Post||- Feb 26, 2013||
Just a quick post…
The Justice Department Friday announced that it is dispatching more than 780 federal observers and monitors to 23 states to watch for potential problems which would violate voting rights protected by federal law.
The Justice Department said it was sending observers to 51 jurisdictions in those states to help enforce federal voting rights laws which protect ballot access.
Jon Greenbaum, Chief Counsel for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, says his organization is generally pleased with the locations selected for federal monitoring. The organization successfully pushed, for example, for monitors to be sent to Maricopa County, Arizona because of potential problems for Hispanic voters, and the group noted potential for discrimination against black voters in Alabama and Mississippi counties.
Historic incidents of discrimination against Native American voters prompted observers to be sent to Shannon County, South Dakota, and Sandoval County, New Mexico, Greenbaum said. In Chicago, several ethnic minorities have suffered incidents in the past, including lack of poll workers who spoke Chinese, South Asian, or other minority languages. A growing Muslim population in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan also had caused issues for native Arab and Middle Eastern language speakers at polling places, Greenbaum said.
There’s a complete list of the targeted counties at the CNN link. Franklin and Hamilton Counties in Ohio are included.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Tallahassee on Friday, is sending staff to Duval County, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola counties on Election Day. DOJ is also monitoring Miami-Dade County elections during early voting, the agency announced today.
Hendry and Hillsborough are two of the five “preclearance” counties – along with Collier, Hardee and Monroe – that require federal approval of election law changes because of a history of discrimination against minorities.
“Although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, the Civil Rights Division is charged with enforcing the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day,” DOJ said in the press release.
The LA Times reports that Riverside and Alameda Counties are on the list.
The federal government began monitoring polling sites in Riverside County after the agency’s Civil Rights Division filed a complaint against the county for failing to offer election-related information and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters, a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The county and the Department of Justice reached a settlement in February 2010 that included having federal observers at polling stations.
A similar settlement was reached with Alameda County in 2011 after the federal government accused the county of failing to train an adequate number of poll workers to help Mandarin-, Cantonese- and Spanish-speaking voters on election day.
This may not completely make up for the numerous efforts of Republican election officials to suppress the votes of traditionally Democratic groups, but it’s good to know Holder is on the case.
This is an open thread.
Studies of the impact of the new Voter ID Laws uncover the worse attempt at voter disenfranchisement since the Jim Crow Law Days. A Philadelphia Newspaper finds that 43 percent of Philly voters may not have the proper ID for voting. You know, of course, that this would be the part of Pennsylvania most likely to vote Democrat or Green.
The number of Pennsylvanians who might not have the photo identification necessary to vote this November has more than doubled: at least 1,636,168 registered voters, or 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters, may not have valid PennDOT-issued ID, according to new data obtained by City Paper. In Philadelphia, an enormous 437,237 people, or 43 percent of city voters, may not possess the valid PennDOT ID necessary to vote under the state’s controversial new law.
“Those are the numbers we sent,” says Nick Winkler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, when asked to confirm the data. “If you want to add them together, I think it’s misleading.”
The new data, received and processed by the AFL-CIO, for the first time includes voters who had PennDOT licenses that have (as of Monday) been expired since Nov. 6, 2011 or an earlier date. If those people do not renew their licenses, the licenses will be expired by at least one year on election day and thus invalid under the new law. And because the AFL-CIO’s voter file (which shows the already-publicized large number of voters with no PennDOT record) is seven months old, it could actually represent an undercount since it does not address whether those who have registered as voters since January have valid ID.
Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is facing increasing scrutiny. Today, Commonwealth Court hearings begin on a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups, including the Pennsylvania ACLU, which allege that the law violates the state constitution’s guarantee of the right to vote.
And on Monday, the U.S. Attorney General announced that it was investigating whether the law violated the federal Voting Rights Act. In particular, the Department of Justice wants to know upon what basis Republican Gov. Tom Corbett‘s administration declared that just 1 percent of residents lacked valid identification during the legislative debate over the law.
The number of voters who will lack proper ID is indeed indeed impossible to determine: Some voters without PennDOT ID may be inactive, or have a valid form of federal or student identification, while others without proper ID may not have yet registered to vote.
“The database was never meant to say ‘this is how many people don’t have IDs,’” says Winkler, emphasizing that this office is focused on ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have the proper ID in November. “You guys want specific numbers that don’t exist, and those numbers change on a daily basis.”
While the right wing blog harp on about ‘vote integrity’, Republican politicians continue to let it slip that the law is to try to get Romney to the White House by whatever means possible.
Pennsylvania Republicans, including Gov. Tom Corbett, insist that the new laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. However, recent developments would seem to contradict that assertion.
In June, Republican House Leader Mike Turzai told a group of voters the real reason Republicans are so anxious to pass the voter ID law is because the statute “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” because it disenfranchises two traditionally Democratic constituencies, the poor and ethnic minorities. Also, the state has admitted in court filings that it has not investigated or prosecuted a single vote fraud case.
In response to widespread outcry over the obviousness of the Republicans’ efforts to suppress Democratic voter turnout, the state government has created a backup ID program. Sadly, the individuals tasked with running the outreach and education effort are all Republican operatives with ties to Gov. Corbett and the Romney campaign.
The Pennsylvania law is similar in concept to laws passed by Republicans in other states like Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri, many of which are also tied up in court. Former President Clinton said the Republican efforts at vote suppression are unlike anything he has ever seen.
“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” he said.
There are next to no problems with voter fraud, yet Republican interests continue to push the meme. If this strategy succeeds, it could establish a worsening situation. Republican policy increasingly appeal to a very narrow and extreme group of people in a very limited and shrinking demographic. This is a systematic way of suppressing the votes of the poor, the young, minorities, and disabled Americans.
Instances of voter fraud are almost nonexistent, but the right-wing media’s harping on the issue has given Republican politicians cover to push these laws through statehouse after statehouse. The laws’ intent, however, is entirely political: By creating restrictions that disproportionately impact minorities, they’re supposed to bolster Republican prospects. Ticking off Republican achievements in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, their legislative leader, Mike Turzai, extolled in a talk last month that “voter ID . . . is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
How could Turzai be so sure? The Pennsylvania Department of State acknowledges that as many as 759,000 residents lack the proper ID. That’s 9.2 percent of registered voters, but the figure rises to 18 percent in heavily black Philadelphia. The law also requires that the photo IDs have expiration dates, which many student IDs do not.
The pattern is similar in every state that has enacted these restrictions. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that 8 percent of whites in Texas lack the kind of identification required by that state’s law; the percentage among blacks is three times that. The Justice Department has filed suit against Southern states whose election procedures are covered by the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It is also investigating Pennsylvania’s law, though that state is not subject to some provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
If voter suppression goes forward and Romney narrowly prevails, consider the consequences. An overwhelmingly and increasingly white Republican Party, based in the South, will owe its power to discrimination against black and Latino voters, much like the old segregationist Dixiecrats. It’s not that Republicans haven’t run voter suppression operations before, but they’ve been under-the-table dirty tricks, such as calling minority voters with misinformation about polling-place locations and hours. By contrast, this year’s suppression would be the intended outcome of laws that Republicans publicly supported, just as the denial of the franchise to Southern blacks before 1965 was the intended result of laws such as poll taxes. More ominous still, by further estranging minority voters, even as minorities constitute a steadily larger share of the electorate, Republicans will be putting themselves in a position where they increasingly rely on only white voters and where their only path to victory will be the continued suppression of minority votes. A cycle more vicious is hard to imagine.
The only way to stop these kinds of assaults on American Civil rights and liberties is to send the Republican party to obscurity.
There are elements in the Republican’s Tea Party movement and in many of their supporters that are so obviously misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist that it is difficult to stomach their political discourse. I continue to find the Tea Party movement to contain some of the most unhinged individuals we’ve see influence American governance in some time. Here’s the latest example from Tennessee.
Conservatives and Tea Party activists in Tennessee have recently pushed several Republican Party county organizations to pass resolutions criticizing the state’s Republican governor for, among other things, employing Muslims, gay people, and Democrats.
“The action or actions of the Republican elected Governor of the Great State of Tennessee and his administration have demonstrated a consistent lack of conservative values,” a resolution passed by the Stewart County Republican Party reads in part, according to a copy obtained by The Tennessean. (The Tennessean obtained two of the resolutions.)
We’ve known for some times that the right wing would like to completely remove basic rights from women and minorities. They are striking at not only our immigration laws, our rights to use birth control and abortion, but our basic right to vote and participate in our Democracy.
I’ve read several things just this week that I find terribly disturbing. The first is that many folks expect that the Supreme Court will strike down the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
It’ll be tough to top the drama of the Supreme Court season that just ended. Or so it would seem. When the justices reconvene in October, they’re likely to consider some of the most contentious social issues dividing the country. And judging from snippets in past opinions, that could mean an upheaval in U.S. civil rights law.
The court has already announced that it will hear a challenge to affirmative action in higher education. In that case, a white student rejected by the University of Texas is arguing that the school doesn’t need to choose students based on racial preferences because it already achieves diversity by guaranteeing admission to state residents in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
Affirmative action was upheld nine years ago, but the composition of the court has changed since then. Five members are now openly skeptical of racial preferences. As Chief Justice John Roberts put it in a 2007 case involving integration at the K-12 level: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
The justices could also deal a blow to minorities if they take up a challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act brought by Shelby County, Ala. Officials there say a provision in that law requiring jurisdictions in 16 mostly southern states to get federal clearance before changing their voting rules—so as not to disenfranchise blacks and other minorities—unfairly targets jurisdictions for racial crimes of the past.
“I expect the Voting Rights Act to go down,’’ says Kermit Roosevelt, who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice David Souter and now teaches constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “The court has foreshadowed that result, and Roberts seems to want it.” In a 2009 challenge to the landmark law, the justices granted some local governments more leeway in changing their election procedures, and Roberts in particular hinted he’d be sympathetic to striking down the so-called preclearance provision, saying that it raises “serious constitutional questions.”
The approach of the right wing has been to whittle away at basic rights by forcing appointment of extremist judges to the benches on Republican Presidents and blocking appointments to the bench by Democrats. It also has been using each red state to create serpentine regulations that basically make exercising rights nearly impossible. Many are set up to create challenges in the courts to long standing precedent like Roe v Wade or Brown v Board.Witness the Mississippi law to shut down the state’s sole abortion clinic by tailor fitting a regulation to that one specific clinic to drive it out of business. It may be working according to news released today.
The clinic argues that the law will effectively ban abortion in the state and endanger women’s health by limiting access to the procedure. It argued that the law is unconstitutional and would close the clinic “by imposing medically unjustified requirements on physicians who perform abortions.” Lawyers also cite statements from Mississippi officials who said the law was intended to close the clinic.
A denial of admitting privileges could bolster the clinic’s arguments that the law is unconstitutional, a lawyer for the state has suggested. But a final ruling could come only after a trial, and the loser could appeal.
The state argues that the law is intended to enhance the safety of patients. The state’s lawyers have argued that Jordan should disregard statements about trying to close the clinic, a claim he greeted with skepticism in court.
More administrative steps would have to follow before the clinic could be shut. Sharlot said the clinic would have 10 calendar days to respond to any findings. The state’s lawyers have said that a facility not complying with a law would get at least 30 days before an administrative hearing. If a license is revoked at a hearing, the clinic would get 30 days to appeal that decision. Health department officials have said it could take as long as 10 months to close the clinic if it failed to comply.
This is the same shenanigans with Voter ID laws. Use incremental laws that “sound” reasonable to many low information, Fox-propaganda-challenged citizens that have devastating results on the weakest and the poorest among us. Then, keep it up and take any legal challenge as far as you can to whittle away at long standing precedent. The extremists are well aware of the dog whistles scattered throughout these laws and media blitzkriegs. Also, they frequently cloak their real purpose in some high minded rhetoric. They want to stop nonexistent voter fraud in the Voter ID case. It’s making sure ignorant little women are truly informed in the case of exercising abortion rights. Neither of these are real problems.
Here is a study worth reading.
By Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer
Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.
The 11 percent of eligible voters who lack the required photo ID must travel to a designated government office to obtain one. Yet many citizens will have trouble making this trip. In the 10 states with restrictive voter ID laws:
- Nearly 500,000 eligible voters do not have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. Many of them live in rural areas with dwindling public transportation options.
- More than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.
- 1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. People of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.
- Many ID-issuing offices maintain limited business hours. For example, the office in Sauk City, Wisconsin is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. But only four months in 2012 — February, May, August, and October — have five Wednesdays. In other states — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas — many part-time ID-issuing offices are in the rural regions with the highest concentrations of people of color and people in poverty.
More than 1 million eligible voters in these states fall below the federal poverty line and live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. These voters may be particularly affected by the significant costs of the documentation required to obtain a photo ID. Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25. Marriage licenses, required for married women whose birth certificates include a maiden name, can cost between $8 and $20. By comparison, the notorious poll tax — outlawed during the civil rights era — cost $10.64 in current dollars.
The result is plain: Voter ID laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of poor Americans to vote. They place a serious burden on a core constitutional right that should be universally available to every American citizen.
This November, restrictive voter ID states will provide 127 electoral votes — nearly half of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Therefore, the ability of eligible citizens without photo ID to obtain one could have a major influence on the outcome of the 2012 election.
This is disturbing beyond words. We’ve already heard personal stories from friends here with disabilities of their struggles to obtain these kinds of ID cards. Right wingers laugh this off with careless disregard for the very things that make our country precious. It is obvious that winning their agendas by any means necessary is at the heart of all of these kinds of laws. Every one should be highly concerned about all these laws aimed at whittling away at our basic rights. This strategy is being used to usurp more of them everyday. Most of them are aimed at women, racial and religious minorities, and the GLBT community. What makes this worse is the amount of money being poured into creating these awful laws by religious institutions like the LDS Church and the Catholic Bishops and business sponsored organizations like ALEC. Tax exempt churches were instrumental in funding efforts to defeat the ERA and push anti-marriage equality and family planning defunding at all levels of government. Removing votes from voters unaligned with their causes is just one more way to relieve the vulnerable among us of basic rights.
We should be fighting this tooth and nail.