Thursday, February 21, 2013

Voting Rights Act hanging by a thread?

The More Things Change … 

By LINDA GREENHOUSE, NYT

Despite spending a lot of time reading and thinking about the Voting Rights Act case the Supreme Court will hear next week, there’s a puzzle I’m still trying to crack:

How can it be that one of the crowning achievements of the civil rights movement, a provision upheld on four previous occasions by the Supreme Court and re-enacted in 2006 by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress (98-0 in the Senate, 390-33 in the House), a law that President George W. Bush urged the justices to uphold again four years ago in one of his final acts in office, a law that has demonstrably defeated myriad efforts both flagrant and subtle to suppress or dilute the African-American vote, is now hanging by a thread?

Of the hanging-by-a-thread part, there’s little doubt. Four years ago, in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. One v. Holder, a case commonly referred to as Namudno, the Supreme Court came within a hair’s breadth of declaring the Voting Rights Act’s Section 5 unconstitutional. “Things have changed in the South,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. declared in the court’s opinion, an oft-quoted line of pithy constitutional analysis that took its place with the chief justice’s other profound musings on race in America. (The others, so far, are “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race,” dissenting in 2006 from a decision awarding a rare victory to Latino plaintiffs who had sued to invalidate a Texas congressional district; and “The way to end racial discrimination is to stop discriminating by race,” in a 2007 plurality opinion striking down integration-preserving efforts by public school districts in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle.)

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Koch said...

One could say that the birds have come home to roost after decades of left of the aisle folks busied themselves with counting and sorting people by the color of their skin, long after MLK frowned un such nonsense.

5:28 PM  

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