Mar 6, 2013

Another GOP effort to stop voters

Too many blacks and other non-desirables
are voting, says GOP --- today!
Update: On June 25, 2103, the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, in an act of partisan insanity that stains the Supreme Court as corrupt and willing to do almost anything to help the Republican Party in its pursuit of power, (Shelby v. Holder, Cornell).

Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan join, dissenting:

In the Court’s view, the very success of §5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy. Congress was of another mind. Recognizing that large progress has been made, Congress determined, based on a voluminous record, that the scourge of discrimination was not yet extirpated. The question this case presents is who decides whether, as currently operative, §5 remains justifiable, 1 this Court, or a Congress charged with the obligation to enforce the post-Civil War Amendments “by appropriate legislation.” With overwhelming support in both Houses, Congress concluded that, for two prime reasons, §5 should continue in force, unabated. First, continuance would facilitate completion of the impressive gains thus far made; and second, continuance would guard against backsliding. Those assessments were well within Congress’ province to make and should elicit this Court’s unstinting approbation.
1 The Court purports to declare unconstitutional only the coverage formula set out in §4(b). See ante, at 24. But without that formula, §5 is immobilized. ...
Wisconsin is not alone in the Republican Party's project to halt voters from voting.

Across the nation the Republican Party has introduced some 180 bills just since 2011 intended to stop Americans from voting the last eight years in states where the GOP has gerrymandered control.

As the Brennan Center notes, "In 2011 and 2012, 19 states passed more than two-dozen measures that would have effectively made it harder to vote, the biggest rollback in voting rights since the Jim Crow era. These measures included voter ID laws, early-voting cutbacks, and curbs on community-based voter registration drives ... ."

The GOP and Tea Party implausibly claim non-existant voter fraud necessitates their obstruction schemes.

As has been increasingly noted now by legal observers, the Voting Rights Act also gives the federal courts the power to add to the jurisdictions now covered by Section Five mandating federal DoJ preclearance.

The motivation behind the GOP effort to invalidate the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is clear: On the state level, enact as many schemes as possible to stop voters; on the federal level in the Courts take the teeth out of the very federal law that stops the Republican Party from enacting such state voter-obstruction schemes.

"This upcoming legal battle unfolds against the backdrop of the recent struggle over voting rights — and in the wake of a clear demonstration of the vital need for strong laws to protect democracy," write Wendy R. Weiser and Diana Kasdan.

Democracy would sure be easier for the Republican Party without those pesky American voters.

In Wisconsin, Mike Tighe has a piece from westcentral Wisconsin on Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP's latest effort attempt to keep people from the polls.

And it's not just voting, the atavistic states rights movement is making a comeback in states controlled by the Republican Party, in part because of that autocratic effort of President Obama to expand Medicaid and provide healthcare to millions of more Americans.

Such tyranny.

As for the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Scalia's asinine comments about racial entitltlements" aside, Myrna Pérez predicts a possible deference to Congress in the Shelby County case on the Voting Rights Act.

Notes Pérez:

Although it is true several of the Justices expressed skepticism [in oral arguments] that the coverage formula targeted all of the worst offenders of the VRA, similar concerns cropped up during the oral argument four years ago in NAMUDNO (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder (NAMUDNO)) [2009]. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote might be determinative, asked approximately the same number of questions to supporters of the Voting Rights Act in NAMUDNO as he did on Wednesday. And the tone of the questioning in NAMUDNO was similarly, if not more, hostile to the VRA. ...

Ultimately, the question comes down to one of deference to Congress. The 15th Amendment of the Constitution makes clear that it is Congress’ job to determine where racial discrimination deeply infects our electoral processes, not Shelby County’s or the Court’s. It is certainly the Court’s job to evaluate whether Congress did its job appropriately, but the Constitution does not require that Congress have been perfect in its determination, and importantly, Congress devised workable mechanisms through the VRA’s bail-out and bail-in provisions to account for instances in which Congress’ determination was off base, or no longer applicable. The compelling evidentiary record of modern-day need, made even more pronounced by the recent wave of restrictive voting laws that appeared heavily in covered states, and the broad authority given to Congress by the Constitution to prevent racial discrimination in voting, make upholding the coverage formula an easy case for the Court.

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