June 22, 2009

"SCOTUS Upholds Voting Rights Act..."

"... For Now, Anyway."
And many liberals feared, especially after oral argument (PDF), that this Court's 5-4 conservative majority would use the opportunity to gut Section 5, especially given its disparate treatment of Southern jurisdictions, with the Chief Justice asking the NAACP's counsel "So is it your -- is it your position that today southerners are more likely to discriminate than northerners?" and Justice Scalia noting, "Wasn't Virginia the first State in the Union to elect a black governor?"

Today, however, the bullet was dodged, albeit on somewhat technical grounds. In an 8-1 opinion authored by the Chief Justice, with only Justice Thomas dissenting, the Court effectively rewrote parts of the Voting Rights Act to allow NAMUDNO to apply in federal court for a permanent "bailout" from the preclearance provisions based on a documented record of behaving itself in this realm, a remedy previously allowed only for states and counties as a whole, and chose not to reach the larger constitutional question.

12 comments:

Jack Wayne said...

The SCOTUS is respecting Conner's 25-year limit.

Brent said...

and chose not to reach the larger constitutional question.

Which will have the unfortunate effect of continuing to harm race relations in this country for many more years to come.

Sad. The Supreme Court's legacy on this one will be "they could have healed the nation, but chose not to."

Bravo to Justice Thomas.

thesconz said...

That is somewhat surprising, considering the tone of the conservative judges during the hearing. Roberts and Scalia threw soft balls to the plaintiff and sounded openly hostile when addressing the government.

The black governor argument in VA isn't especially relevant, however. One could just as easily argue that that was a result of enforcement of rules that made it possible for the state's large black population to vote.

A fact that would not be able to be used in court but is telling nevertheless: in Alabama and Mississippi exit polls showed that roughly 11% of the white population voted for Obama while about 98% of the black population voted for him.

In states with less racial history, like Indiana, blacks voted for McCain at a much higher rate (sometimes as much as 10%!). Not to mention in Wisconsin a majority of white voters voted for Obama.

scinfinity said...

Thomas' dissent was really well-said. Unless they can demonstrate that there is ongoing racial discrimination, this seems to violate the state's right to control the law.

MadisonMan said...

Well, my opinion is that wrongs are not righted as a light switch might be turned on just because a law is implemented. Perhaps this law is now obsolete, but I think history argues to err on the side of caution. When you are approaching something asymptotically, it's very hard to decide when you are close enough.

Aaron said...

mmm, seems to me that by this description they are going to let it die of a thousand cuts. Which actually makes sense. its a little bit too harsh to say that everyone should be out at once; there should be some discretion involved.

m00se said...

Gotta keep our Negros safe. They're not responsible enough to know whats good for them. Well, except for the "magic" ones...

Methadras said...

I'm with Thomas on this one. This decision to uphold the Voting Rights act basically says that responsible voting will not be allowed. This could seriously have curtailed groups like ACORN and their blatant vote cheating tactics.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

thesconz: Shouldn't you be crediting Jeanine Garofalo when you use her lines? So, you're saying that every "Whitey"
or "Charley" is a racist if they didn't vote for Obama?

Gee, I'd thought our first "Black" President was proof that we'd got beyond racism; at least that was his campaign issue.

Guess Obama forgot about getting rid of the racists in his own Marxist Partei. Are you going to be part of Obama's special Blue Shirts; you certainly seem headed towards being being a Partei Gauleiter or Commissar!

Jeremy said...

"And many liberals feared, especially after oral argument (PDF), that this Court's 5-4 conservative majority would use the opportunity to gut Section 5..."

It wasn't just "liberals" who were worried.

All you're doing is stirring the pot for your wingnut buddies.

Jeremy said...

Of all the people to dissent...the black guy.

What an asshole.

American Liberal Elite said...

Judicial inactivism.