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Racism a Thing of the Past, Doesn’t Exist Today, Supeme Court Says

June 26, 2013

It’s Open Season on Voting Rights.As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the State Attorney Generals of Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina gleefully announced their restrictive “Voter ID” legislation would immediately become law. The gloves are off, they boasted.

Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina….

Four of the historic leaders of human rights in America, right? Bastions of American freedom and equality? What else do those four states have in common? Coincidence? Can anyone be surprised that today’s Neo- Confederate white supremacists are the ones triumphantly gloating and cheering the loudest?

It’s open season on voting rights in America. Every sane or honest person knows what is behind the GOP’s so-called “Voter ID” laws. Republican leaders have repeatedly and openly bragged about their intent to forcibly suppress minority votes and pro-Democratic Party votes, to defeat democracy, which many of them now openly oppose.

The majority decision doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. The five justices take it upon themselves to decide whether racism still exists in America, or at least whether it is still influences thter right to vote. No, they say, racism is history, a thing of the past. Not part of “current conditions.” That is news to most of us.

They rationalize that they warned congress to review the situation and now chastise congress for not heeding that directive and taking new, updated information into account, for not recognizing that things have changed since 1965. That false assertion willfully ignores the incontrovertible fact that, several times, most recently in 2005-6, congress did extensively review the Voting Rights Act. They heard from dozens of witnesses, examined thousands of documents,depositions, and mountains of evidence, and even though Republican-controlled, they renewed the entire Voting Rights Act after this extensive review. Even Republican President George W. Bush gladly signed the renewal, vocally acknowledging its continued necessity.

The five right-wing ideologue-justices also willfully ignored the massive voter suppression acts in all Republican-dominated states in 2012 when state GOP officials openly announced their intention to suppress voter turnout in mostly Democratic and/or minority neighborhoods. They restricted voting hours, changed the rules at the last minute for registering, reduced the number of polling places by 85%, made it virtually impossible for anyone without a current driver’s license e to resister, then closed hundreds of drivers license offices, forcing would-be, non-driving citizens to travel up to a hundred miles out of the county to find a drivers license office–with reduced days and hours. Many required multiple trips in person to such offices, a powerful form of harassment. Republican officials sneered and jeered at the obstacles they created for their hapless victims.

Remember Florida’s skinhead governor Rick Scott, who successfully prevented at least 30,000 legally registered voters from voting? Remember how thousands more were forced to stand in line for an unprecedented nine (9) hours to exercise their right to vote while over-privileged conservative rich white guy Rick Scott smirked and sneered at them? Remember that? I do.

Even in Colorado, far from the Confederacy, AG Scott Gessler worked to purge urban voters from the rolls and used state funds to support True the Vote, a right-wing vigilante group created to discourage and harass ‘suspicious’ voters. (I was one of many people who blogged repeatedly about voter suppression—the “second-generation barriers” Justice Ginsburg spoke of in her dissent—during the election campaigns of last year. The posts are still up).

In the early 1960s polls showed that Supreme Court Justices were among the most respected members of American society. Now they are rightfully scorned as just partisan hacks with no integrity. No one with integrity, no one who respects truth, facts, and evidence can respect this disgraceful decision, especially coming after the Supreme Court rigging of the 2000 Presidential election and the Citizens United decision. I believe they have destroyed their own credibility in the eyes of most Americans. They have lost respect because their behavior does not merit respect.

But bringing disgrace and contempt down on their own heads by their own shallowness and blatant partisanship is the least of the damage they have done.It will take a lot of work by a lot of people to undo damage done by declaring open warfare on voting rights across the nation.

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