Singing songs about the southland

I have no idea what the judges will do with the Voting Rights Act, but I’m sure having five Republican judges strike it down will help the Republican party with the blahs and brahs. Am I wrong to think that the Republican judges who are primarily partisans (I’m not saying all five are) would be dumb to kill the VRA?

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111 replies
  1. 1
    Ash Can says:

    I was just looking at an LGF headline and linked TPM article about the justices supposedly hammering the VRA defenders in the oral arguments. I seem to recall the justices hammering the Obamacare defenders during oral arguments as well. Granted, the resulting decision on that was too close for comfort, but it was a favorable decision, despite the tone of the oral argument phase. I don’t think it’s time to panic yet.

  2. 2
    Trollhattan says:

    From the looks of it, yes, presuming Kennedy and Roberts capitulate. Because history and the 2012 election have shown us, there’s ZERO effort to disenfranchise voters of any identifiable socioeconomic or cultural group. None. And especially not like in the bad ol’ sixties. Which Gene Hackman pretty much fixed.

  3. 3
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I don’t know about dumb, but given the continued need for the VRA to prevent the disenfranchisement of Blacks (and other minorities), especially in the South, they would be unethical.

  4. 4
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Am I wrong to think that the Republican judges who are primarily partisans (I’m not saying all five are) would be dumb to kill the VRA?

    Smartest thing they can do to help the GOP short-term. I think people really underestimate how much the VRA has kept the red states from going full Jim Crow – repeal of even part of it, which seems inevitable, is going to cause the nation quite a bit of trouble, if you give a shit about everyone being enfranchised equally.

    If you don’t, well, then this is just great fucking news. Can’t have them black folks in office, they cause trouble.

  5. 5
    Arm The Homeless says:

    It sure looks like section 5 is going to be struck down, I for one welcome the gambit. What better way to enrage historically absent cohorts than to welcome back Jim Crow the year before a midterm election. A year filled with every mouth breathing conservative vying to introduce the most egregious election fixing schemes that ALEC can provide.

    I welcome the invitation to their destruction.

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    Is it wrong of me to think that if they were stupid enough to strike down the VRA that the end result would be, like the recent turnout in 2012, a massive outpouring of voters that would sweep the dems into power specifically with the promise to create a national “right to vote” that could not be abridged locally? The various attacks on voting rights and on voters usually revolve around jjst trying to make things more difficult (aside from the anti felon laws which make it impossible). Those local efforts to disenfranchise only work because a high percentage of the targeted voters get discouraged and don’t see the point of jumping through hoops to vote. But if the voters are angry and energized? then the anti vote effort is going to be either wasted or backfire entirely.

  7. 7
    👽 Martin says:

    Honestly, it should be struck down. There shouldn’t be different standards for different states.

    And the disenfranchisement efforts are hardly limited to only those states. Look at Michigan and PA. They’re doing as much or more than states like Georgia are.

  8. 8
    Cassidy says:

    Why would it be stupid? They’re never held accountable in the press. The fecal matter that pours from their mouth is lapped up by villager sycophants and breathlessly regurgitated in the news and print. They have nothing to lose here.

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    Dumb?

    Yeah.

    But don’t forget, the Conservative motto is, ‘Stupidity in the defense of extremism, is no vice!’

  10. 10
    danimal says:

    They would be dumb, if they were strategically-inclined partisans, to gut the VRA. But they’re Republicans first and foremost, so they’ll act out of emotion and try to spin the results away.

    Then, after a ginormous minority turnout in 2014/2016, when the blahs and the brahs aren’t supposed to show up, they’ll ask, “What can we do to appeal to non-whites?” The GOP leadership doesn’t really get it yet, and all this talk about re-branding is simply bullshit. Until they really feel the pain, they will continue to implement bad policy in the legislatures, bad policy in the courts, bad policy in the executive.

    Only after they have no power will they take a look at their policy positions and adjust. GOP delenda est.

  11. 11
    lol says:

    A friend on my twitter feed said Sotomayer gave Scalia shit for the racial entitlement remark. Anyone have any details?

  12. 12
    Cassidy says:

    @aimai:

    Is it wrong of me to think that if they were stupid enough to strike down the VRA that the end result would be, like the recent turnout in 2012, a massive outpouring of voters that would sweep the dems into power specifically with the promise to create a national “right to vote” that could not be abridged locally?

    Fillibuster

  13. 13
    r€nato says:

    @👽 Martin: oh please. The South has a unique legacy of decades of institutionalized disenfranchisement of blacks and minorities. Why does this have to be explained to ANYBODY?

  14. 14
    Xenos says:

    I would like to think a return to Jim Crow-style elections abuse would be poisonous to the GOP in the remaining purple states, but that is probably just naïf of me.

  15. 15
    LGRooney says:

    You could certainly argue it would be dumb but they very well may not see it since they truly do live inside their own echo chamber. They, and all with whom they associate, think the way they have spoken today and, therefore, they see it as a smart move, even politically.

    Think about the fiasco with the Romney campaign and the polls. They just couldn’t believe what the polls were showing because everyone in their circles and on their TVs agreed that they couldn’t lose.

  16. 16
    Lev says:

    It would be really bad for the Court’s image to suddenly decide that a celebrated 50 year old law is suddenly un-Constitutional, but people like John Roberts–who wants to eliminate pretty much every legal protection for minorities, and has compiled a record of doing this–aren’t thinking of the bigger picture.

  17. 17
    gussie says:

    @r€nato: Are you suggesting that the South is in any way more racist than the North?

    No supreme court appointment for you.

  18. 18
    👽 Martin says:

    I should add, even though I think the justices will (and should) strike it down, it’ll definitely hurt the GOP by doing so. The justices should acknowledge the discrimination, say that section 5 is wrong to target certain states, invite Congress to rework it for all states. But the majority isn’t going to do that, and todays line of questioning makes that clear. And no fucking way the House goes along with a national voting rights bill.

  19. 19
    Gustopher says:

    Why is it that we only respect the voting rights of minorities when the minority in question is the minority party in the Senate?

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    @aimai:

    Is it wrong of me to think that if they were stupid enough to strike down the VRA that the end result would be, like the recent turnout in 2012, a massive outpouring of voters that would sweep the dems into power

    You have far more faith in heightening the contradictions than I do.

  21. 21
    handsmile says:

    Just a N.B. that Kay’s earlier post today on this subject is still threading along, and worth a read. (Kay, of course, being the resident expert.)

    @Ash Can:

    [this an excerpt from a comment of mine on that thread]:

    …[P]rior to oral arguments in NFIB v. Sibelius most legal commentary seemed reasonably confident that the ACA would be upheld by the Court and by more than a narrow majority. (Why I even remember speculation that Scalia would uphold it on commerce clause grounds.) That assumption made the hostility/skepticism of the justices’ questions all the more alarming (though happily, albeit barely, not determinative).

    In this voting rights case, almost every account I’ve read asserts that the majority of the Court will invalidate Section 5 of the VRA. What we know thus far of the justices’ questions and comments today would seem only to underscore that conviction.

  22. 22
    PeakVT says:

    Long-term, yes, it’s probably stupid to overturn VRA Sec. 5 and let state-level Repukes run wild, because they’d further poison the GOBP brand with minorities. But if the Repukes can take the Senate in 2014 and even the White House in 2016 based on a bit of suppression, they would have yet another opportunity to cut taxes and try to starve the beast. They probably believe that once it is done, it would be extremely difficult to build back social insurance programs to even the low level they are at today. I would agree with that assessment given how incredibly biased our media is on economic issues.

  23. 23
    minutemaid says:

    Concern tr0ll and Gl00m Pr0n addict Doug Galt is concerned and gloomy of prospects. Because that’s EXACTLY how he likes it.

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    @r€nato: That’s not what he’s saying.

  25. 25
    japa21 says:

    @r€nato: Strike down, no. It needs to be expanded and any state that has a Republican Governor and legislature should automatically come under the purview of the VRA.

  26. 26
    AHH onna Droid says:

    Ot? Im beginning to suspect there is no whitey tape and never was.

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    Rather than applying it to every state, why not tie it to actual misconduct? Have a voting rights law struck down as unconstitutional, your state has to get preclearance for the next 10, 15, whatever years. Go 10 years with no bad laws, get off the list.

  28. 28
    Haydnseek says:

    @👽 Martin: Exactly. You make an excellent argument for why it should be extended to these states rather than struck down. This won’t happen, of course. Pity.

  29. 29
    Pooh says:

    On the narrow issue of voting rights it’s possibly cat strategy, but in the larger term, it’s just another piece in the Pat Riley-era Knicks strategy to foul on every possession and dare the refs (in this case the voters/media/dems) to call them all. More cynically, shit like this is useful chum so that no one looks too closely into the real, corporatist goals of the movement. For example, the anti-union stuff in Wisconsin was odious, but it wasn’t as bad as the contemporaneous effort to implicitly (hell, explicitly) outsource various public utilities and/or natural resources commissions to Koch Industries while making the actions of those commissions essentially non reviewable by any branch of government. The latter takes a little more time to digest, so letting opponents punch themselves out on a noisier issue is probably smart.

  30. 30
    Cassidy says:

    But, to answer a question, no the South is not anymore racist than the north, west, southwest, midwest, etc. We’ve just had longer to craft it intpo acceptable terms and norms. You don’t hear Southern pols (largely) saying the dumb shit the heartland Murikan pols do, because ours know how to speak it without saying it out loud.

  31. 31
    Pooh says:

    @Pooh: bad strategy, not cat strategy, though it is intended to benefit the fat cats…

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    Why would Scalia argue that because a law is reauthorized that’s proof that its a bad law? I mean, aside from the fact that he is an incredible asshole and idiot, combined. Does he not understand that for a country to function most of its laws and various legislative enactments need to be re-examined and reauthorized periodically? That’s what makes them laws, and not totally random, tyranical, decisions. Why shouldn’t congresspeople vote for a popular law? Sounds like a damned good way to make public policy.

  33. 33

    OT but kinda related, did anyone see the PBS documentary yesterday, The Makers?

  34. 34
    Pooh says:

    @MikeJ: that’s sort of how it already works. You can petition to be removed from the “preclearance” list.

  35. 35
    Haydnseek says:

    @Lev: John Roberts cares about the image of the court only inasmuch as he cares about his personal legacy. His vote on the ACA proved it, if anyone had any doubts.

  36. 36
    dedc79 says:

    Perhaps if each and every minority voter formed their own corporation, they’d get a more sympathetic hearing from these justices.

  37. 37
    Barry says:

    Doug Galt: “Am I wrong to think that the Republican judges who are primarily partisans (I’m not saying all five are) would be dumb to kill the VRA?”

    Yes. Because in the short term (meaning the next few elections, meaning up to a decade) this would help:

    1) Lock in further GOP control at the state level.
    2) Further gerrymander states (remember Texas; redistricting can be done at any time, not just following a Census).
    3) Lock in GOP control of the House.
    4) Give the GOP control of the Senate.
    5) Win the presidency in 2016.
    6) Put in GOP SCOTUS and appeals court judges, when Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy retire/die.

    In the loooooooooooooooooong run, maybe it doesn’t matter that much; maybe specialist historians in 2200 will talk about how it delayed things by 20 years. But to politicians and their paymasters, that means the rest of their political careers.

    Short form – how much do you think that Scalia and Thomas want to see GOP replacements?

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    @Pooh: Right, but passing an unconstitutional law doesn’t get you added to the list. That’s why the current crop of states are on the list, but there’s no mechanism for adding other states that systemically misbehave.

  39. 39
    Barry says:

    @👽 Martin: “Honestly, it should be struck down. There shouldn’t be different standards for different states.”

    You’re right, but the thing is we need higher standards for more states, not reduced standards. I’d gladly swap VRA for better elections nationwide, but that’s not on the table.

    “And the disenfranchisement efforts are hardly limited to only those states. Look at Michigan and PA. They’re doing as much or more than states like Georgia are. “

  40. 40
    👽 Martin says:

    @r€nato:

    The South has a unique legacy of decades of institutionalized disenfranchisement of blacks and minorities. Why does this have to be explained to ANYBODY?

    Not disputing that. But the suggestion from how Sec 5 is set up is that ONLY those states present ongoing threats to voter rights. Well, we know that’s bullshit. PA crossed that line in 2012.

    What the south illustrated is that ALL states, given the opportunity, are capable of discrimination and therefore ALL states should be subject to preclearance even if at this moment, they aren’t abusing the electorate. Other states disenfranchise latinos in ways that do not impact blacks (differentiating english vs spanish language voting materials). CA has had issues long in the past with voting rights for asians. All states had issues with voting rights for women. All states are randomly bumping into voting rights for young people – NH, ME, IN, and so son.

    Either preclearance for everyone, or for none. Unfortunately, the path to getting there involving SCOTUS means that laws must be struck down before new ones can be written, and we have zero faith that the new ones will be written. Not how I would want this to go down, but its how it’s going down.

  41. 41
    PeakVT says:

    @MikeJ: I think that approach would give too much discretion to presidential administrations to determine who is being good or bad, and wouldn’t prevent a state that had been good for a while from suddenly doing bad things if the political culture shifted (as it has in Wisconsin over the past decade).

  42. 42
    Punchy says:

    Then, after a ginormous minority turnout in 2014/2016, when the blahs and the brahs aren’t supposed to show up,

    Um….that’s assuing the blahs and brahs will be allowed to vote. Which they wont. Which is the whole point of striking down the law before the midterms.

    I cant wait to see what shit-laden filth of voting restrictions are proposed in TX an hour after the USSC bounces the VRA.

  43. 43
    Barry says:

    @danimal: “Then, after a ginormous minority turnout in 2014/2016, when the ”

    If and only if. And remember that the mid-terms probably still favor the GOP. And in 2016, we won’t be running an incumbent.

    Think of this like a guy who tries something and gets slapped down. Once is not a learning experience; sometimes twice isn’t. The GOP would need to lose three or four elections in a row to learn quickly, and that probably won’t happen.

  44. 44
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Any chance the 5 judgez pull a CU here, and in addition to opining on the VRA, go completely sideways here and rule again on Obamacare and gun restrictions?

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    @PeakVT: As Pooh points out, states can already get off the preclearance list, and it’s not really that hard to do.

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    I think pre clearance from the VRA is toast, probably. All five wingnut justices have made remarks that it was time for that to go. All five justices are federalists and the VRA required state kow towing to the federal government has always been a source of resentment.

    I don’t think it will help them much politically, as all of the states it covers are red states. And it could well backfire on them both locally and nationally, since I seriously doubt the cracker majority will be able to control themselves with some outrageous Jim Crow nonsense.

    The more they piss of the rest of the country with such antics should increase voter turnout, at large, as well as within those southern states. Which would require even more draconian Jim Crow nonsense to control. It is a loser for republicans all around, imo. And maybe Roberts will get that, and serve his legacy over loyalties outside the realm of impartial judging. I doubt it though, on this one.

  47. 47
    rumpole says:

    @gussie: The right answer to that question would have been for purposes of this statute, yes.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    I think pre clearance from the VRA is toast, probably. All five wingnut justices have made remarks that it was time for that to go. All five justices are federalists and the VRA required state kow towing to the federal government has always been a source of resentment.

    I don’t think it will help them much politically, as all of the states it covers are red states. And it could well backfire on them both locally and nationally, since I seriously doubt the cracker majority will be able to control themselves with some outrageous Jim Crow nonsense.

    The more they piss of the rest of the country with such antics should increase voter turnout, at large, as well as within those southern states. Which would require even more draconian Jim Crow nonsense to control. It is a loser for republicans all around, imo. And maybe Roberts will get that, and serve his legacy over loyalties outside the realm of impartial judging. I doubt it though, on this one.

  49. 49
    kindness says:

    would be dumb to kill the VRA?

    I think the Conservatives on the Supreme Court long ago gave up caring about appearances and pretense.

    If the VRA gets shot down will citizens take matters into their own hands?

  50. 50
    kindness says:

    would be dumb to kill the VRA?

    I think the Conservatives on the Supreme Court long ago gave up caring about appearances and pretense.

    If the VRA gets shot down will citizens take matters into their own hands?

  51. 51
    General Stuck says:

    I think pre clearance from the VRA is toast, probably. All five wingnut justices have made remarks that it was time for that to go. All five justices are federalists and the VRA required state kow towing to the federal government has always been a source of resentment.

    I don’t think it will help them much politically, as all of the states it covers are red states. And it could well backfire on them both locally and nationally, since I seriously doubt the cracker majority will be able to control themselves with some outrageous Jim Crow nonsense.

    The more they piss of the rest of the country with such antics should increase voter turnout, at large, as well as within those southern states. Which would require even more draconian Jim Crow nonsense to control. It is a loser for republicans all around, imo. And maybe Roberts will get that, and serve his legacy over loyalties outside the realm of impartial judging. I doubt it though, on this one.

  52. 52
    jibeaux says:

    Here’s the other thing about Roberts, as far as I know prior to the ACA there wasn’t much you could point to in his rulings about his feelings on health insurance. There’s a LOT to review in his prior rulings about how he feels about race. Ever heard “the way to stop discriminating by race is to stop discriminating by race”?
    It’s almost definitely going down.
    The argument by Scalia that it’s so popular that it’s unconstitutional is just entrancingly bizarre.

  53. 53
    Pooh says:

    @MikeJ: it’s not that hard IF the local GOP isn’t trying to find new ways to gussy up the poll tax.

  54. 54
    SFAW says:

    @aimai:

    From what I’ve read, I think Nino’s rationale [sic] was “if EVERYONE votes for it, something must be wrong with it.” He surmised [sic] that SOME voted for it out of fear of the backlash.

    Therefore, he’s only saving those candy-assed Senators from themselves. Because, FSM knows, if the Senators can’t be trusted to make the “correct” decision, well, then, it’s the job of a not-activist-nosirree Supreme Court Associate Justice to make that decision for them.

    Apparently, in the Scalia Roberts Court, stare decisis is Latin for “IOKIYAR.”

  55. 55
    handsmile says:

    In a recent career of shark-jumping, this may be Antonin Scalia’s tour de force:

    “Scalia: Voting Rights Act is ‘Perpetuation of Racial Entitlement”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justi.....titlement/

    Suspect we’ll be hearing a bit more about this one….

  56. 56
    SFAW says:

    @aimai:

    From what I’ve read, I think Nino’s rationale [sic] was “if EVERYONE votes for it, something must be wrong with it.” He surmised [sic] that SOME voted for it out of fear of the backlash.

    Therefore, he’s only saving those candy-assed Senators from themselves. Because, FSM knows, if the Senators can’t be trusted to make the “correct” decision, well, then, it’s the job of a not-activist-nosirree Supreme Court Associate Justice to make that decision for them.

    Apparently, in the Scalia Roberts Court, stare decisis is Latin for “IOKIYAR.”

  57. 57
    handsmile says:

    In a recent career of shark-jumping, this may be Antonin Scalia’s tour de force:

    “Scalia: Voting Rights Act is ‘Perpetuation of Racial Entitlement”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justi.....titlement/

    Suspect we’ll be hearing a bit more about this one….

  58. 58
    kindness says:

    No Edit key, huh? Would someone please delete my duplicate post?

  59. 59
    handsmile says:

    in a recent career of shark-jumping, this may be Antonin Scalia’s tour de force:

    “Scalia: Voting Rights Act is ‘Perpetuation of Racial Entitlement”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justi.....titlement/

    Suspect we’ll be hearing a bit more about this one….

  60. 60
    Rosalita says:

    great title; there are some good things about the south and George Strait is one of them.

  61. 61
    handsmile says:

    in a recent career of shark-jumping, this may be Antonin Scalia’s tour de force:

    “Scalia: Voting Rights Act is ‘Perpetuation of Racial Entitlement”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justi.....titlement/

    Suspect we’ll be hearing a bit more about this one….

  62. 62
    👽 Martin says:

    @PeakVT: The problem needs to be split into two components:

    1) Federal elections
    2) State and local elections

    The jurisdiction is different for each. Congress has the authority to regulate federal elections. But the VRA was really targeted at state and local elections because the real problem was that minorities were unable to get representation at the local level, and with the local levers of power in the hands of the majority, the majority could ensure it stayed that way.

    These days, the problem has shifted a bit – where the issues at the federal level are (relatively speaking) a bit larger in scope than they used to be.

    Congress should establish clear standards for how federal elections are run in terms of access to polling places, maximum length of time voting should take, clarity of ballots, and so on. The easy solution for every single state to comply with these should be vote-by-mail. By mandating this for federal elections, all state and local elections occurring at the same time will be conducted the same way (because it’ll be too difficult to set up two standards). Special elections and non-federal elections may be run differently, and that will be a problem, but it’ll be a smaller problem that can be tackled via different strategy. And, honestly, it’s not likely to be as big of a problem as it used to be – particularly if a solid federal standard is set.

  63. 63
    MikeJ says:

    @Pooh:

    it’s not that hard IF the local GOP isn’t trying to find new ways to gussy up the poll tax.

    All they really need to do is wait a few years before passing a new stupid law, get taken off the preclearance list, and *then* pass any dumb law they want. What’s mind boggling is that these states can’t just calmly wait a few years.

  64. 64
    artem1s says:

    @MikeJ:

    Rather than applying it to every state, why not tie it to actual misconduct?

    because it only takes one election cycle to completely screw up a states voting policies for an entire generation. The GOP has been completely willing to pull the trigger on one shot issues like banning gay marriage abortion in order to turn out the base during a crucial election. It only took a couple of elections rigged by Blackwell and now we are fighting some of the worst redistricting in the country.

    Once you have been cheated out of your right to vote in a particular election, you don’t get it back. Just ask the voters in FL from 2000.

    I’m not at all sure that overturning the VRA would be in the GOPs best interest because it will put the spotlight on their activities in the states not covered.

    Also, I don’t know how long the Democratic Party can keep channeling its money into trying to save voting access on a state by state basis. In the 2012 election it probably helped OFA turn out the vote in a lot of states but I don’t know if that will be the case in smaller regional and state elections. I do know that the Ohio Dems had to spend millions on fighting Husted’s antics in 2010-12. We saved most of our early voting rights but we now have a GOP super majority in both the state house and senate. And they are already trying to pass even more egregious voter ID laws.

    It seems to me that the GOP has figured out how to circumvent the VRA in the rust belt so the south doesn’t matter as much to them.

    I hate to say it but at this point I don’t see how the Dems can get ahead unless we have some minimal 50 state wide voting rights act so they don’t have to expend all their resources fighting these ID and redistricting battles over and over again in the states not covered by the VRA.

    I’m not for over turning for the states protected but I am certainly in favor of a national voting rights law after what I saw here in Ohio and in PA in 2012.

  65. 65
    MikeJ says:

    @Pooh:

    it’s not that hard IF the local GOP isn’t trying to find new ways to gussy up the poll tax.

    All they really need to do is wait a few years before passing a new stupid law, get taken off the preclearance list, and *then* pass any dumb law they want. What’s mind boggling is that these states can’t just calmly wait a few years.

  66. 66
    jibeaux says:

    Scalia’s argument that it’s so popular it must be unconstitutional is both entrancingly bizarre, and cites to some Israeli legal philosophy (when Kennedy did that in a death penalty claim it was a Very Big Activist No-No USA! USA! USA!).
    The problem with thinking Roberts might pull another ACA surprise is that Roberts’ views on race issues are well known. Anyone ever heard “the way to stop discriminating based on race is to stop discriminating based on race”?

    Sorry for the repeat, it didn’t publish initially, FYWP.

  67. 67
    👽 Martin says:

    @PeakVT: The problem needs to be split into two components:

    1) Federal elections
    2) State and local elections

    The jurisdiction is different for each. Congress has the authority to regulate federal elections. But the VRA was really targeted at state and local elections because the real problem was that minorities were unable to get representation at the local level, and with the local levers of power in the hands of the majority, the majority could ensure it stayed that way.

    These days, the problem has shifted a bit – where the issues at the federal level are (relatively speaking) a bit larger in scope than they used to be.

    Congress should establish clear standards for how federal elections are run in terms of access to polling places, maximum length of time voting should take, clarity of ballots, and so on. The easy solution for every single state to comply with these should be vote-by-mail. By mandating this for federal elections, all state and local elections occurring at the same time will be conducted the same way (because it’ll be too difficult to set up two standards). Special elections and non-federal elections may be run differently, and that will be a problem, but it’ll be a smaller problem that can be tackled via different strategy. And, honestly, it’s not likely to be as big of a problem as it used to be – particularly if a solid federal standard is set.

  68. 68
    artem1s says:

    @MikeJ:

    Rather than applying it to every state, why not tie it to actual misconduct?

    because it only takes one election cycle to completely screw up a states voting policies for an entire generation. The GOP has been completely willing to pull the trigger on one shot issues like banning gay marriage abortion in order to turn out the base during a crucial election. It only took a couple of elections rigged by Blackwell and now we are fighting some of the worst redistricting in the country.

    Once you have been cheated out of your right to vote in a particular election, you don’t get it back. Just ask the voters in FL from 2000.

    I’m not at all sure that overturning the VRA would be in the GOPs best interest because it will put the spotlight on their activities in the states not covered.

    Also, I don’t know how long the Democratic Party can keep channeling its money into trying to save voting access on a state by state basis. In the 2012 election it probably helped OFA turn out the vote in a lot of states but I don’t know if that will be the case in smaller regional and state elections. I do know that the Ohio Dems had to spend millions on fighting Husted’s antics in 2010-12. We saved most of our early voting rights but we now have a GOP super majority in both the state house and senate. And they are already trying to pass even more egregious voter ID laws.

    It seems to me that the GOP has figured out how to circumvent the VRA in the rust belt so the south doesn’t matter as much to them.

    I hate to say it but at this point I don’t see how the Dems can get ahead unless we have some minimal 50 state wide voting rights act so they don’t have to expend all their resources fighting these ID and redistricting battles over and over again in the states not covered by the VRA.

    I’m not for over turning for the states protected but I am certainly in favor of a national voting rights law after what I saw here in Ohio and in PA in 2012.

  69. 69
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Barry:

    Not to mention we’ve seen proof positive how the GOP only needs short term gains to enact vast, overreaching, long-term damage that we still haven’t pulled ourselves out of. And thanks to them basically owning the rules, they get to blame the other side for not fixing their fuckups from the past enough to obfuscate the issues and win again, because they always somehow manage to fucking win, even when they lose, because they get to change all the fucking rules.

    Fuck this shit.

  70. 70
    nancydarling says:

    Charles Pierce is blogging from SCOTUS and he seems gloomy about the fate of Section V.

    It is hard to resist the argument made by the plaintiffs here — that the United States has succeeded so wildly in eliminating racial barriers that the mechanisms by which they were eliminated are no longer necessary, and that it’s time we all stop picking on Alabama because it’s trying to do its best here. It is sweet and it is charming and it appeals to our very best opinion of ourselves. But it doesn’t reflect what’s actually happening in the country, where the franchise is under assault in one state capital after another. The elimination of Section V will gut the effective protections of the Voting Rights Act, and you will be amazed at how quickly Republicans legislatures and Republican governors will rush to place new barriers in front of the voters they’d rather not see casting ballots. People will affect surprise. After all, this is the 21st century. We’re past all that. There will be a general amazement because, in this country, it is never about race, but it is always about race, over and over again.

  71. 71
    👽 Martin says:

    FYWP!

  72. 72
    handsmile says:

    Sorry, something’s gone kablooey here. (Wonder if this will now post several times. Let’s see.)

  73. 73
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Do you think it’ll give them pause if they reflect on how Citizens United worked out? That was supposed to be a slam-dunk Republican victory measure and ended up energizing the Democratic base.

  74. 74
    mai naem says:

    @lol:
    Sotomayor asked the pro VRA lawyer if he considered the right to vote racial entitlement right after Scalia had called it racial entitlement.

    Scalia is a special kind of asshole. And Kennedy is the stinky piece of shit hanging on to the special kind of asshole.

  75. 75
    Ash Can says:

    @MikeJ:

    Go 10 years with no bad laws, get off the list.

    Funny you should mention that — that’s exactly what Section 5 does. As for threats to voting rights in non-covered jurisdictions, it’s my understanding that that’s what the VRA itself is for.

    Keep in mind, people, it’s mainly Section 5 that’s in danger. And to Martin and everyone else, I highly recommend the link I included above (and I tip my hat to lawhawk @LGF for it).

  76. 76
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    This might be a different animal, when you can deny that charged up, energize base the right to direct that energy because state gov’ts were given free rein to say ‘You aren’t allowed to vote so nyah’.

  77. 77
    PeakVT says:

    @MikeJ: Right, but what you wrote sounded like (in the hypothetical situation of the current law having been struck down) we should go further and implement a system that automatically let states off a list that they would only get on if a presidential administration decided to challenge them (and was successful with the challenge). I think that would be a bad response if I am interpreting you correctly.

  78. 78
    SFAW says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    That was supposed to be a slam-dunk Republican victory measure and ended up energizing the Democratic base.

    Just because there was unexpected success in 2012 doesn’t mean that Citizens United won’t screw things up for a long time to come.

    As has been said by smarter persons than I, including in this joint, the smart CU-freed-up money will go to down-ballot candidates. As we have seen in MI, WI, PA, etc., that’ll help create the environment designed to disenfranchise whomever the “right-thinking” people want out.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @Punchy:

    I cant wait to see what shit-laden filth of voting restrictions are proposed in TX an hour after the USSC bounces the VRA.

    It’s won’t be voting restrictions. It will be far more egregious redistricting than anything they’ve tried before. They will gerrymander down to the level of individual houses in an attempt to create a few districts that are 95+% Democratic and as many districts as possible that are 55% Republican.

  80. 80
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    It’s fascinating to see old White Ethnics like Scalia with their bigot flags flying.

    The obvious point is that Certain States can’t be trusted to conduct fair and free elections even with the VRA’s pre-clearance provisions in place, and the way to deal with this isn’t to dismantle the VRA but to use the 15th Amendment to set tougher federal standards for elections. The principle’s already established — state sovereignty over elections doesn’t extend to being able to choose winners by lottery.

  81. 81
    Maude says:

    OT when the blog post multiple comments, hit submit and go off the blog and come back.

  82. 82
    Roger Moore says:

    @SFAW:

    Because, FSM knows, if the Senators can’t be trusted to make the “correct” decision, well, then, it’s the job of a not-activist-nosirree Supreme Court Associate Justice to make that decision for them.

    This. Scalia apparently thinks that when the 15th Amendment allows Congress to enforce it by appropriate legislation, it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide if the legislation is actually appropriate.

  83. 83
    MikeJ says:

    @PeakVT:

    they would only get on if a presidential administration decided to challenge them (and was successful with the challenge). I think that would be a bad response if I am interpreting you correctly.

    Right now there’s no way to get on the list except when the bill passed. I suggest that when voters take their state to court challenging the constitutionality of voting laws, losing that challenge automatically puts them on the preclearance list.

    Right now when a state has a voting law struck down, they go back and try again and can put another bad law on the books for the few years it takes to work its way through the courts. I suggest that if they have passed one unconstitutional law recently, they’re likely to do it again.

    Of course what I really wish is that the USSC would do like courts do in other countries and issue advisory opinions on bills before they pass.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @MikeJ:

    All they really need to do is wait a few years before passing a new stupid law, get taken off the preclearance list, and *then* pass any dumb law they want. What’s mind boggling is that these states can’t just calmly wait a few years.

    But if they stop trying to suppress the minority vote for long enough to ask to be removed from the preclearance list, they might start losing elections to Those People, at which point they won’t be able to impose their new restrictions. Besides, preclearance just makes it easier for the Feds to enforce voting rights; if they do something genuinely egregious, they can still be sued successfully.

  85. 85
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @SFAW: Absolutely, I won’t deny CU was a crappy decision and will cause an enormous amount of damage. I’m just wondering if the fine legal minds up there on the highest bench might have noticed that things didn’t work out the way they seemed like they were going to.

  86. 86
    SFAW says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:
    I’m sure they noticed, but I’m also sure they’re familiar with the terms “long game” and “delayed gratification.”

    Think of 2012 as a “practice run.”

    ETA: And your “crappy decision” comment is clearly wrong, because no less than that fine legal mind, Samuel Alito, sez it was a good decision.

  87. 87
    Kay says:

    @artem1s:

    I hate to say it but at this point I don’t see how the Dems can get ahead unless we have some minimal 50 state wide voting rights act so they don’t have to expend all their resources fighting these ID and redistricting battles over and over again in the states not covered by the VRA.

    It’s just really easy to combine voter protection with GOTV. It’s a natural fit. I’m no longer sure these resources are wasted. If we are forced to do voter contact on something like voter ID, that’s a voter contact that Republicans aren’t forced to do. It pays off.

    There’s a ripple effect, too. Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about voting rights, even if you have 3 forms of photo ID, if you want the Democrat to win in a state like Ohio, and you can count, you get “concerned” about voting rights because you know the candidate needs those voters who are targeted for suppression. We saw that with Issue Two, locally. People here who had almost scoffed at my worries about voter suppression, people who have no problem voting, ever, were all of a sudden vitally interested because they recognized what a winning coalition had to look like, and it wasn’t all rural white people who have a drivers license and stay at the same address for 20 years. It was transactional. They knew what they needed.

  88. 88
    kay says:

    @artem1s:

    Also, the big untold story of 2012 was how Texas went nuts attempting to limit Latino votes and political clout. No one cared, nationally, because Texas is solid red, but that will be the next big political issue in the Voting Wars.

  89. 89
    Kathleen says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I did. And every time a PBS dubbed “Pro Life” winger spoke, I screamed at the TV, “Call them ‘Anti Abortion’, not ‘Right to Life'” How any so called news organization could label murderers and fire bombers “pro life” is beyond me. Other than that, I thought it was pretty good.

  90. 90
    shortstop says:

    I have a history of underestimating the pushback that will occur when average voters are callously dissed by the plutocracy. There’s been so much citizen apathy and never enough activism, and that makes me pessimistic about this stuff sometimes. I really thought the response to the 47 percent remarks would die down after a few days of Fox and the Village assuring white folks that Mitt wasn’t talking about them. I knew that black voters were mightily pissed off about the GOP’s constant race-baiting, but I found out just how much they would be voting that anger when I walked precincts in Milwaukee before the election. I was thrilled — but a little bit surprised — to see how determined people were to vote in states that, unlike Wisconsin, had successfully put up voter ID laws.

    So when I say I fear that the elimination of Section 5 will not cause a huge sweeping tide of voter resentment and determination that makes the GOP cry like a little girl, y’all can be pretty sure that it will.

  91. 91
    someguy says:

    I think all voter districting decisions should be subject to DOJ review, and recision.

    Of course if we ever have a Republican president again, it will look like Walter Sobchak, a baseball bat and a corvette… but the odds of that are very, very remote at this point due to changing national demographics.

  92. 92
    NR says:

    @Ash Can:

    I seem to recall the justices hammering the Obamacare defenders during oral arguments as well. Granted, the resulting decision on that was too close for comfort, but it was a favorable decision

    Favorable to the insurance companies, sure.

  93. 93
    kay says:

    @shortstop:

    If you look at the groups who filed briefs defending the law, it’s a laundry list if the groups conservatives hope to persuade, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans.
    This is a deregulatory action, at base, like all of Roberts pet projects; guns, campaign finance, health care.
    There’s just no evidence that voters in these groups are anti-government. They appear to want federal protection on voting rights. They don’t CARE tgat it’s a regulatory burden on these states. Why should they?

  94. 94
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Thirty years ago, the Old South became Real America, and vice versa. Now PA and WI and MI only have to get up and move..

    The rest of us who aren’t God-blessed to live in Real America just have to take our fake-America lumps I guess.

    I knew there was a problem when upon moving to Maine 25 years ago I saw Confederate battle flags decorating the windows of pickups in the high school parking lots of the same Maine towns where one male in six or seven never came back from the Civil War…

  95. 95
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @👽 Martin:

    CA has had issues long in the past with voting rights for asians.

    …and CA has to preclear statewide changes, because Monterey County is a covered jurisdiction.

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Now PA and WI and MI only have to get up and move.

    If Wisconsin is included in there because of voter ID, you should note that the voter ID law was overturned in state court on state constitutional grounds.

  97. 97
    shortstop says:

    @NR: If you can’t afford your medication for blunt head trauma, AstraZeneca may be able to help.

  98. 98
    MomSense says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I just saw one last week–and I live in the home town of Joshua Chamberlain and that “little lady who started the big war”.

  99. 99
    shortstop says:

    @Left Coast Tom: I think covered jurisdictions have to obtain preclearance on their own, no? The entire state is not required to do so if the covered jurisdiction is a county or town. Kay, is that right?

  100. 100
    shortstop says:

    @MomSense: Mmmmm, Josh Chamberlain. Dreamy.

  101. 101
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @kindness: A 2nd Amendment solution, perhaps?

  102. 102
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: More right-to-work, and the statwide general attempt to pretend there’s no such actual place as Milwaukee.

  103. 103
    shortstop says:

    @shortstop: I’m sorry, Left; I see you said statewide changes. Never mind!

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    More right-to-work,

    Okay.

    and the statwide general attempt to pretend there’s no such actual place as Milwaukee.

    Not sure what you mean by that.

  105. 105
    danielx says:

    Am I wrong to think that the Republican judges who are primarily partisans (I’m not saying all five are) would be dumb to kill the VRA?

    You’re not wrong, viewing things in the long term – but when has the long term view ever prevented Republicans from doing something dumb if doing it was to their short term advantage?

  106. 106
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @shortstop: Not being a lawyer…the explanation I had read was that state changes which impact covered jurisdictions require preclearance. For example, redistricting the state Assembly necessarily impacts Monterey County. Redistricting some other county’s Board of Supes districts has no impact on Monterey County, and doesn’t require preclearance.

    Edit: you may be right about the county having to get the preclearance, but for a statewide change I’m not sure what the difference is, as it can’t take effect until the county gets clearance.

  107. 107
    OGLiberal says:

    Question – If the law has provisions for getting off the pre-clearance list, why are these states/counties still on it after almost 50 years? Kind of blows apart Scalia’s argument that it’s no longer needed because the South is no the land of racial harmony and tolerance.

  108. 108
    geg6 says:

    Shitty fucking song by a shitty fucking band. I hate you, Doug, for now getting that shitty fucking song stuck in my head. Arrrrrrrrgh!

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Honestly, it should be struck down. There shouldn’t be different standards for different states

    Like hell, dude. Go re-read the Fifteenth Amendment.

  110. 110
    Pap Finn says:

    There is absolutely no fucking way the country will tamely return to a pre-1965 state. If they strike it down, the slightest move on the part of any state toward anything resembling Jim Crow will precipitate a roaring shitstorm not seen since, well, the 1960’s.

  111. 111
    PeakVT says:

    @Martin: By mandating this for federal elections, all state and local elections occurring at the same time will be conducted the same way (because it’ll be too difficult to set up two standards).

    Well, that strikes me as optimistic. Republicans in a lot of states would probably be happy to go with S&L elections that are completely separate from federal elections, because they know minority, youth, and lower-income groups will turn out at lower rates. Would that be an outcome we want? Also, the registration process is where most of the current abuse occurs, and Congress isn’t directly empowered to regulate that (only times, places, and manner) without something like the VRA. Drawing districts is another area of abuse where the Congress has no direct authority.

    The impulse towards abuse isn’t going away anytime soon, and I don’t see how it is kept in check without a mechanism like VRA Sec. 5.

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