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Thread: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

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    Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act
    Conservative justices who hold a slim majority on the Supreme Court expressed grave doubts Wednesday that the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement -- remains constitutional nearly a half century later.

    The justices who could be the swing votes in an eventual ruling suggested that an outdated formula built into the law now discriminates against the South, much as Southern states discriminated against black voters by erecting barriers such as poll taxes and literacy tests.

    "Is it the government's submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than the citizens in the North?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who argued that the law should remain intact. Roberts noted that Massachusetts has the worst black turnout in elections when compared with whites -- and Mississippi the best.

    Although the more liberal justices defended Section 5 of the law, which requires all or parts of 16 states to clear any voting changes with the federal government, at times the die appeared cast inside the marble courtroom. That could mean a decision by June rendering that provision unconstitutional or sending it back to Congress.

    "It's easy to go broke guessing on the outcome of any Supreme Court argument," said Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, which solicited the challenge to the law. But he said the questions from Roberts and others "highlighted the justices' skepticism about the differences in discrimination between the covered and non-covered jurisdictions. Those differerences simply don't exist any longer."
    If we're going to keep Preclearance, it needs to apply to everyone, not just select states and counties. Things have changed and I don't see how theses select Southern areas are so much more likely to attempt discriminatory voting practices that they should be singled out.

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    I'm leery of the argument that "times have changed." I see it as a potential excuse for dramatic alterations against minority rights. I don't raise that argument for gun rights, I won't raise that argument for voting rights.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I'm leery of the argument that "times have changed." I see it as a potential excuse for dramatic alterations against minority rights.
    I'm not saying that there aren't places that would still discriminate, just that it is wrong to only apply a law to people you suspect might do something. I see it as the equivalent of creating a law that all Middle Eastern airline passengers must go through a body scanner, but everyone else is not enough of a risk to be forced to undergo the same oversight. I'm not against the act, only the way it is currently applied.

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilot View Post
    Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act


    If we're going to keep Preclearance, it needs to apply to everyone, not just select states and counties. Things have changed and I don't see how theses select Southern areas are so much more likely to attempt discriminatory voting practices that they should be singled out.
    Another argument for less government, not more.

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilot View Post
    I'm not saying that there aren't places that would still discriminate, just that it is wrong to only apply a law to people you suspect might do something. I see it as the equivalent of creating a law that all Middle Eastern airline passengers must go through a body scanner, but everyone else is not enough of a risk to be forced to undergo the same oversight. I'm not against the act, only the way it is currently applied.
    I'm not suggesting that those currently would want to do it, but specific wording of each decision carries meaning, and can be used against the spirit of intentions. For the issue of civil rights, the most dangerous idea is that a given protection is declared antiquated.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I'm leery of the argument that "times have changed." I see it as a potential excuse for dramatic alterations against minority rights. I don't raise that argument for gun rights, I won't raise that argument for voting rights.
    I agree. Times have not changed. Here in Houston, Hubert Vo, a Vietnamese American, won a Congressional seat years ago by 17 votes, and has won subsequent elections by wide margins. He was supported by the Houston Vietnamese community. Rick Perry and his cronies attempted to carve this district up and make it parts of 3 different districts, thus depriving the Vietnamese community of a voice in government. The courts used Title 5 of the Voting Rights Act to declare the Texas map that got rid of this district unconstitutional. There were also other Texas districts that were gerrymandered out of existence, which violated Title 5, and were part of the court decision. So, yes, the Voting Rights Act needs to stay.

    Better yet would be a law which states that you cannot have a district that is gerrymandered at all, and districts must have a ratio of it's boundaries no larger than 3:1.
    Last edited by danarhea; 02-27-13 at 03:34 PM.
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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    I agree. Times have not changed. Here in Houston, Hubert Vo, a Vietnamese American, won a Congressional seat years ago by 17 votes, and has won subsequent elections by wide margins. He was supported by the Houston Vietnamese community. Rick Perry and his cronies attempted to carve this district up and make it parts of 3 different districts, thus depriving the Vietnamese community of a voice in government. The courts used Title 5 of the Voting Rights Act to declare the Texas map that got rid of this district unconstitutional. There were also other Texas districts that were gerrymandered out of existence, which violated Title 5, and were part of the court decision. So, yes, the Voting Rights Act needs to stay.

    Better yet would be a law which states that you cannot have a district that is gerrymandered at all, and districts must have a ratio of it's boundaries no larger than 3:1.
    That's true.

    Further, consider what someone may argue in a couple of generations or more, should a contemporary argument come about in regard to the African American population (or even the white population). They could return to those deliberations, perhaps misinterpret the common understanding and intentions of those who made the decision, to then make their own. It has happened quite a deal.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    That's true.

    Further, consider what someone may argue in a couple of generations or more, should a contemporary argument come about in regard to the African American population (or even the white population). They could return to those deliberations, perhaps misinterpret the common understanding and intentions of those who made the decision, to then make their own. It has happened quite a deal.
    If it gets struck down only for not applying to all states, what misinterpretations could arise? Why should the Supreme Court not fix something solely because there could be a misinterpretation in the future? Every decision they make carries that chance, I don't see how this is different from anything else.

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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    I say keep the precleareance part of the bill around. I believe we should keep it around because im still weary of southern states, and southern state legislatures. I say we keep it around until a law can be made that allows precelarnce to all states.


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    Re: Supreme Court raises doubts about Voting Rights Act

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    I say keep the precleareance part of the bill around. I believe we should keep it around because im still weary of southern states, and southern state legislatures. I say we keep it around until a law can be made that allows precelarnce to all states.
    It isn't just the South. In South Dakota, Title 5 also applies because of the history of that state not giving Native Americans the vote.
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