Feb 28, 2013

Civil Rights Leader: Justice Kennedy Will Vote to Uphold Voting Rights Act

U.S. Government fighting for voting rights
Update: Rightwing justices could very well issue a radical ruling that would "sideline Congress from meaningful participation in a realm in which its power was once thought to be at its pinnacle."

In the wake of Justice Scalia's outrageous comment that the Voting Rights Act (VRA) reauthorization is a "perpetuation of racial entitlement," a civil rights leader predicted the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the VRA, 5-4, with Justice Anthony Kennedy voting with a majority.

On the Lawrence O'Donnell show last might, civil rights leader Judith Browne-Dianis, a "a prominent civil rights litigator and experienced racial justice advocate" of The Advancement Project predicted Kennedy—reagarded as the right-leaning, swing vote on the Court—will join the four rule-of-law justices and uphold the Voting Rights Act, first enacted in 1965 and reauthorized four times since, including in 2006.

Ms. Browne-Dianis is virtually alone in her prediction.

Said Browne of Justice Kennedy:

My prediction is that he (Kennedy) will side with us on this (the VRA); that he will uphold it. Because at the end of the day, Justice Kennedy actually sometimes has broken, you know, ways with the conservative bloc. And he actually believes in fairness. ... I think that at the end of the day, fairness will rule; that there was enough information before Congress in 2006 to say that we still need the Voting Rights Act.
The information Ms. Browne-Dianis refers to is the 10,000s of pages of social scientific evidence Congress accumulated in hearings before it passed the 2006 Voting Rights Act (VRA) reauthorization.

Social scientific findings were first referenced in civil rights legal cases in the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, based upon the work of Kenneth Clark, that outlawed school segregation.

Kenneth B. Clark concluded that systematic racism "inevitably destroys and damages human beings," and the Supreme Court opinion called his work "key" to its decision.

Later, in racial, housing discrimination actions in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, social scientific findings were also prominently used in voluminous legal cases, largely based upon the work of Karl Taeuber, professor of Sociology, Emeritus (University of Wisconsin-Madison [Off campus]).

The significance of social scientific findings in the voting rights case now before the Court can be found, among other sources, in the brief filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that references the widespread unconstitutional conduct in the jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act, and other pernicious action directed against minorities in civic life.

As recently as 2012, the U.S. Dept of Justice blocked discriminatory measures in Florida, Texas, and South Carolina under the Voting Rights Act.

Republicans are virtually unanimous in the covered jurisdictions in saying racism no longer exists and no longer presents an obstruction to Americans' voting, a position echoed by most Republicans the nation-over.

"Congress renewed the special provisions of the Act in 2006 as part of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Cesar E. Chavez, Barbara Jordan, William Velazquez and Dr. Hector Garcia Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act," notes the U.S. DoJ Voting Right Act webpage.

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