The Supreme Court has ruled that a key part of the Voting Rights Act—the landmark civil-rights law protecting racial minorities from discrimination at the polls—is unconstitutional in its current form.
The 5-4 decision, announced Tuesday morning, invalidates—at least for now—Section 5, a crucial tool for fighting racial discrimination in voting, and comes at a time of rising concern over efforts to restrict access to the ballot box. It represents a victory for conservatives, and a blow to the voting rights of millions of non-white Americans.
“The Supreme Court has effectively gutted one of the nation’s most important and effective civil rights laws,” said Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Minority voters in places with a record of discrimination are now at greater risk of being disenfranchised than they have been in decades. Today’s decision is a blow to democracy. Jurisdictions will be able to enact policies which prevent minorities from voting, and the only recourse these citizens will have will be expensive and time-consuming litigation.”
What this means is that even while the white population plunges further into mirnoity status its power will increase exponentially. “Voter I.D.” defeated in the last election will be instituted with full force. District gerrymandering and other forms of “Voter Suppression” (IOW . “NIGGER GO HOME!) will become The Law
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires that certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination, including most southern states, submit any changes to their election systems to the U.S. Justice Department for “pre-clearance.” The Justice Department is empowered to block changes that could reduce minority voting power. In the decision announced Thursday, Shelby County v. Holder, the court ruled that the formula used by Congress to decide which jurisdictions are covered under the law, known as Section 4b, violates the Constitution.
“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the majority.
“There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act,” Roberts added. “The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.”
I’m betting that Little Lord Fauntleroy (see pic above) is gay and will, post puberty, have a black boyfriend.
The court’s four other conservatives, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas,
Nothing beats a Lawn Jockey — right folks?
Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, joined Roberts in the majority. The four liberal justices dissented.
If Congress were to pass new legislation changing the formula, Section 5 could be revived. And voting-rights advocates inside and outside Congress told MSNBC before the ruling that they’ve already begun discussions toward that goal. But given the partisan nature of the issue, and the current level of congressional gridlock, it figures to be a very heavy lift.
Brian Boitano will do a Triple-Lutz in the 9th Circle before this congress does anything of use to anyone who isn’t a corporation.
In a rare step, Justice Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, noting the irony in Roberts’s claim that it was the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act in stopping race discrimination that had doomed Section 5. ”In the Court’s view, the very success of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy.”
Lawyers for Shelby County, Ala. argued that the south has made progress on race relations since the 1960′s, meaning Section 5 in its current form is no longer needed, and violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
After all, we’ve come so far haven’t we?
But in 2006, Congress overwhelmingly reauthorized the Voting Rights Act, finding that voting discrimination remains a problem in covered areas. And as the Justice Department noted, in recent years the provision has been used to block a slew of election changes in covered areas—including strict voter ID laws passed in 2011 by Texas and South Carolina, a Texas statewide redistricting plan that was found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities, and cutbacks to early voting in several Florida counties. And North Carolina—much though not all of which is covered under Section 5—passed a voter ID bill in April, which had appeared likely to be challenged under Section 5. All those measures were pushed by Republicans, and opposed by Democrats.
Meanwhile in other civil rights news, it’s Larry Kramer’s Birthday
Sing us out kids!