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Today in voter suppression

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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:21 am

The Supreme Court dropped the bomb. They struck down the core of the Voting Rights Act. The federal government will no longer have special jurisdiction over states that have past history of discrimination.

Honestly, I think this is right call. The law is outdated, the states that were targeted aren't particularly worse than many other states.

That said, I'm sick to my stomach. The problem is that we don't have the ability to create better tools to address voter suppression because the Republican Party has gone wild. We no longer have a congress.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli ... e/2116491/
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/su ... uling.html
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:26 am

The USSC said that Congress needs to come up with a new formula to cover states that suppress minority voters. I say start with the states that have passed burdensome voter ID laws.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:39 am

Henry Vilas wrote:The USSC said that Congress needs to come up with a new formula to cover states that suppress minority voters. I say start with the states that have passed burdensome voter ID laws.


Oh it's in Congress' hands. That makes me feel better.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:17 pm

We need a Voting Rights Act of 2013 that mandates that redistricting be done by non-political means and be overseen by judicial branch.

Plus we need something like the old Voting Rights that applies equally to all 50 states.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby DCB » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:38 pm

Huckleby wrote:That said, I'm sick to my stomach.

Why so glum, chum? DIdn't your hear?

We cured racism!

At least, I think that's what SCOTUS said.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:54 pm

I'm starting to learn a little bit more. Evidently, built into the VRA is the ability of jurisdictions (could be counties, districts, states...) to apply to get out from under the Fed scrutiny; and there are procedures for bringing new jurisdictions into the penalty box. What's more, changes have happened in both directions fairly regularly. To get out of scrutiny, a region needs to avoid any shinanigans for 10 years. I notice only a few select counties of Florida are under scrutiny.

The justice department and a federal judge approve any changes.

Maybe there was no valid reason whatsoever to invalidate the VRA.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:22 pm

DCB wrote:
Huckleby wrote:That said, I'm sick to my stomach.

Why so glum, chum? DIdn't your hear?

We cured racism!

At least, I think that's what SCOTUS said.


Seemed more like they said the map drawn in the 1960s is horribly out of date and rather than fix it piecemeal it's time to find a more current way of determining what states and counties are violating minority voting rights. Do you really think that voter rights are only at risk in the southern states and counties that were a visible problem 50 years ago?

Henry doesn't
Henry Vilas wrote:The USSC said that Congress needs to come up with a new formula to cover states that suppress minority voters. I say start with the states that have passed burdensome voter ID laws.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:29 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote: Seemed more like they said the map drawn in the 1960s is horribly out of date and rather than fix it piecemeal it's time to find a more current way of determining what states and counties are violating minority voting rights.


I generally agree with you, and am unsurprised that the SC ruled as it did.

But there is more to this story to consider, and I am rethinking my position.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan- ... 06-25.html

RAY SUAREZ: But Section 4, which was specifically struck down today, didn't apply to the nation as a whole. It applied to certain sections of the country that were singled out for extra scrutiny from Congress. Could you imagine a time where those places would come out from under that? Because, today, the Supreme Court could.

SHERRILYN IFILL: Sure. Sure. I can imagine a time, and I don't even have to imagine it, because the law also includes a provision called bailout that allows jurisdictions that have not run afoul of the Voting Rights Act over a 10-year period to be removed from the requirements of the law.

And every jurisdiction that has sought bailout since the enactment of the statute has been granted bailout. All Shelby County, Ala., had to do and all the state of Alabama has to do is not discriminate against racial minorities in voting for 10 years to get out from under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

So there's a door out, but the door out is premised on a jurisdiction that ensures that its voting processes are equal, open, and fair.

....

SHERRILYN IFILL: If Mr. Blum could live with that, then he wouldn't have been behind the effort to challenge the Voting Rights Act, because, in fact, I just described a bailout provision in the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act has a bail-in provision.

It allows jurisdictions that are not covered by Section 5 of the act who have engaged in discrimination and who have been found by a judge to engage in discrimination to be bailed in. Arkansas was bailed in for a time. New Mexico was bailed in for a time. So any jurisdiction, including the jurisdictions that you have identified, who have engaged in voting practices that have been found by a judge to discriminate in voting can under the strictures of Section 5 be bailed into the Voting Rights Act.

The genius of the statute is that it has a door that goes both ways. The problem is that jurisdictions, many jurisdictions, have not simply done the job that they need to do in order to be permitted to get out.

RAY SUAREZ: But, as you heard Mr. Blum point out, Congress was also not using the mechanics that's right there in the law to separate the good and bad actors.

SHERRILYN IFILL: Well, I'm not sure exactly what that means. The mechanics that are in the law are the provisions that allow jurisdictions working with the Justice Department and federal judges to allow jurisdictions to either exit or to compel jurisdictions to enter the provisions of the act.

Congress made a statute that it thought was going to survive precisely because it had this ability to move states in and out. What Congress did in 2006 was it looked at the current states that were under the provisions of Section 5 and it looked at voting discrimination in those states to determine whether they should still be covered, and what it found, to its surprise, I should say, was that there was an overwhelming evidence of voting discrimination continuing in those covered jurisdictions.

And as a result, Congress reauthorized the formula to cover those jurisdictions and maintain the bailout and bail-in provisions that allow some states to come in or jurisdictions to come in and some jurisdictions to go out.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:38 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html

Congress spent months in 2006 amassing a massive record to show that, even though the first generation of discriminatory voting measures had been eradicated, subtler but significant forms of discrimination in jurisdictions subject to pre-clearance remained “serious and pervasive.” Lawmakers also considered evidence that discrimination still occurs disproportionately in those places. Because people and places change, Congress allowed jurisdictions with 10 years of good behavior to “bail out” of pre-clearance. It also allowed courts to “bail in” jurisdictions if need be. Both were essential elements of the system, allowing it to adapt to changing realities. That was the basis upon which a 390 to 33 majority in a Republican-controlled House and a 98 to 0 majority in a Republican Senate determined that pre-clearance requirements remained rational policy that deserved extension until 2031.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:52 pm

I'm not saying a method to deal with new problem areas and reward areas that had improved didn't exist. The statement Robert's made seemed to indicate the overall framework of section 4 was outdated, and that Congress should have updated it in the last decade.

In any case this doesn't allow racial discrimination in the voting process. It just means that until congress updates the law, every state will have exactly the same process to go through when redistricting or passing voting laws. Not being one of the special regions didn't save the Wisconsin voter id law or it's redistricting process from state and federal judicial review.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby Huckleby » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:52 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:I'm not saying a method to deal with new problem areas and reward areas that had improved didn't exist.

Except unequal enforcement of the law was the central argument being made against the VRA. I ignorantly bought this argument until a light went on yesterday.

When conservatives said the law was archaic, they pointed out that there was no modern justification for the geographical pattern of enforcement. Check out the debate from PBS Newshour that I linked to, the anti-VRA activist makes precisely that argument. The dynamic nature of the VRA blows the archaic argument out of the water.

Francis Di Domizio wrote:The statement Robert's made seemed to indicate the overall framework of section 4 was outdated, and that Congress should have updated it in the last decade.


There is nothing wrong with the overall framework, or at least I've heard no credible argument to that effect. The enforcement powers of VRA have been very necessary and useful the past ten years - it has been used successfully 74 times in the last decade. (See Stewart, Jon; Oliver, John; et. al. Journal of Comedy Central, June 25)

Truly outrageous shinanigans in Texas were stopped in 2012 ONLY because of the special enforcement powers of the VRA.

Francis Di Domizio wrote:In any case this doesn't allow racial discrimination in the voting process.

Yes it does. The historical record is clear: The VRA enforcement powers are essential to preventing voting discrimination, and this was demonstrated just last fall. Of course in theory discrimination remains illegal, but that is a hollow rhetorical point.

Francis Di Domizio wrote:It just means that until congress updates the law, every state will have exactly the same process to go through

BTW, what does it mean for congress to "update the law"? Congress approved the law after extensive debate and research in 2006, and overwhelmingly determined that the law was sound. John Roberts maintains that the criteria have to be updated. Who the fuck is John Roberts to say the criteria are wrong? Where is the evidence that the "framework" is not working? What constitutional basis is there for that determination? Just saying "things have changed" doesn't cut it. Congress spoke in 2006 and said the rules are working, and working well.

Lets keep it real: there is no possibility for Congress to "update the law." Roberts had it in for the VRA, and he cynically struck a partisan blow with no constitutional justification that I can see.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby minicat » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:31 am

Huckleby wrote:
Lets keep it real: there is no possibility for Congress to "update the law." Roberts had it in for the VRA, and he cynically struck a partisan blow with no constitutional justification that I can see.


This. Does anyone -- including the five justices who colluded to strike down the VRA -- think our dysfunctional legislative branch is really going to "update" anything to protect voting rights?
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby HawkHead » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:11 am

Read Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent.

Congress has the right to regulate voting. Just 7 years ago Congress re-upped the law saying with a vast majority that the law and formula was still needed. The Supreme Court has no authority to strike the law down other than being an activist court.

So much for Roberts being the umpire only calling balls and strikes. Yesterday he said the players have to run clockwise instead of counter-clockwise around the bases.
Last edited by HawkHead on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby DCB » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:41 am

minicat wrote:
This. Does anyone -- including the five justices who colluded to strike down the VRA -- think our dysfunctional legislative branch is really going to "update" anything to protect voting rights?

Our own Rep. Pocan is pushing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Do you think he'll get any support from J. Beauregard Sessions (R-Alabama Values) or Huckleberry Graham? No, I don't think so.

The state legislatures in Alabama, SC, and the rest are going to rush through the best voter suppression laws ALEC can give them. All the better to lock in the kind of candidates who are opposed to expanding voter rights.
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Re: Today in voter suppression

Postby HawkHead » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:44 am

Read Antonin Scalia's dissent on DOMA.

He said the SC had no right to change a law that Congress passed and was signed by the President.

Yesterday, he issued a ruling on the VRA, a law passed by Congress and signed by the President, that it wasn't needed and should be changed.

I guess he had a change of heart overnight!
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