SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

March 4, 2013

Activist Justices – Voting Law

U.S. Supreme Court

 Legal burden of voting law splits justices

By Adam Liptak THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — A central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may be in peril, judging from tough questioning yesterday from the Supreme Court’s more-conservative members.

If the court overturns the provision, nine states, mostly in the South, would become free to change voting procedures without first getting permission from federal officials.

In a vivid argument in which the lawyers and justices drew varying lessons from the legacies of slavery, the Civil War and the civil-rights movement, the court’s conservative wing suggested that the modern South had outgrown its troubled past and that the legal burdens on the nine states no longer were justified.

  • Chief Justice John Roberts asked skeptically whether “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North.” Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote is probably crucial, asked whether Alabama today is an “independent sovereign” or whether it must live “under the trusteeship of the United States government.”
  • Justice Antonin Scalia said the law, once a civil-rights landmark, now amounted to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

That remark created the sharpest exchange of the morning, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the other end. “Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement?” she later asked a lawyer challenging the law, with an edge in her voice that left little doubt she was responding to Scalia’s statement. “Do you think that racial discrimination in voting has ended, that there is none anywhere?”

The outcome of the case will most likely remain in doubt until the end of the court’s current term, in June.

The provision in question applies to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.

Should the court strike down the law’s central provision, it would be easier for lawmakers in the nine states to enact the kind of laws Republicans in several states have advocated, including tighter identification standards. It would also give those states more flexibility to move polling places and redraw legislative districts.

(My Comment:

Nothing the Supreme Court has done in it’s entire history [outside of Citizen's United], has stirred my blood to such a degree.  The 2012 election was a clarion call  for all Americans to sit up and REALLY take notice.    The radical- right-bent of the Robert’s court has never before so blatantly shown it’s  “political bias” which is NOT what they were sent there to do.  They are supposed to be intellectual people of honorable caliber, distinguished sufficiently in their field of law to allow them to be able to interpret the intent and heart of what the law is all about.   

They are failing miserably.  Occasionally, Roberts tries to realign to his duty remembering that his own history is also being recorded and imprinted in these hallowed records.   

I for one, do not believe that any person should ever  be placed in such a high position “FOR LIFE”  – – nor do I believe that any duly placed individual should be cast aside lightly or at mere transiting whim of a populace.  But this court has for years been recalibrating our fairly efficient system into an image which they interpret is the correct one.  It just happens that their view of how things ought to be is bigoted, biased and overwhelmingly geared to the wealthy and heavily toward the corporate interests.   This is NOT what our forefathers had in mind, nor is so much of their decision making in accord with what the average American finds acceptable.  We are the ones for whom this bell tolls! 

And while we are at it;  as long as this court  seems hell-bent to remake our form of government – – I have a few suggestions:  

  • When someone IS  appointed to the Supreme Court, that person MUST participate.  Can’t sit there like a bump on a log, never speaking, entering in or otherwise participating.  I refer of course to Clarence Thomas.  He is taking up space that a qualified, interested legal mind could be adding with perhaps a unique perspective or other advantage.  Why is that?  Is he still capable?  Who is to judge?   Is he beset with Alzheimers?  When is enough, enough?   I don’t like this and find him to be a disgrace!   He needs some kind of declarative investigation to ascertain whether or not he ‘should’ be on the court.
  • Also, as everyone knows, we are all free to run for office, assuming one has certain capacities which it is taken to be sufficient to [if succeeding and winning that office],  equip one with enough  gray matter to understand what is going on,  and why they are there.  In other words,  the aspirant understands what is expected of him, and when he takes his/her oath of office, agrees to carry out such obligations – – TO THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM and put him into office;  not to some ideal quite apart to those sworn duties, such as an avowal to shrink the government and many agencies to an otherwise useless perfunctory symbol  – – allowing for far easier platforms from which to make ever more material wealth for the already wealthy and less restriction for all those pesky rules and regulations which are making life harder for them. (tho none in history have ever made more wealth or gained more power than the corporate giants of today, while the masses sink further into poverty).
  • Again, not what our forefathers had in mind.      I understand that a congressperson earns about $170,000 annually.   I can’t even imagine such a con-game going on anywhere else – we’d just throw you in jail and toss the key away.  The congress has been almost entirely useless, accomplishing nothing or little.  Each year it has become worse since we lost Leader Pellosi as leader.  As the Republican congress tries to slash everything across the board – – notice they aren’t cutting their own income, and they don’t do anything to earn it.  Talk about disgrace.  Take it away from the elderly, impoverished and the needy but don’t raise taxes on the rich! Isn’t there some way to release and replace these people who obviously don’t want to do the job they were hired to do?

And one more  thing,  didn’t Secretary Kerry understand what’s going on back home?  First thing he does is promise to give $190 Million to Egypt.   What does this word “Budget” mean?   Can we seriously continue to buy our way to making friends around the world and expect them to make nice with each other.  When did this ever really work?  Are we going to keep on doing this sort of thing until all of us are living under a bridge somewhere?

I give up.   Jan)

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