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Thread: Alabama Challenge to Voting Rights Act

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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    Default Alabama Challenge to Voting Rights Act

    Could the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which forced the South to stop disenfranchsing African-Americans, be overturned by the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court?

    The SC has begun hearing a challenge by Shelby County, Alabama, to Section 5 of the Act, requiring 9 mainly Southern states to preclear changes to voting rules (including number of polling stations, ID requirements etc.) with the Justice Department, which has the power to block them. The states/localities subject to Section 5 are: "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".

    Congress renewed the Act for 25 years in 2006. But several conservative SC justices have expressed misgivings as to the constitutionality of the law:
    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Anthony Kennedy
    there is a federalism interest in each state being responsible to ensure that it has a political system that acts in a democratic and a civil and a decent and a proper and a constitutional way..“The Marshall Plan was very good, too...But times change.”.
    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Antonin Scalia
    Justice Antonin Scalia said the law, once a civil rights landmark, now amounted to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
    Conservatives have a 5-4 majority on the SC.

    The liberal judges defended the Act. Judge Sotomayor retorted to Scalia, asking "do you think the right to vote is a racial entitlement?". Judge Elena Kagan said that under any formula, Alabama would be included under the scope of Section 5, based on the number of voting-rights suits, and that the 9 states were responsible for a disproportionate number of voting rights violations. Judge Stephen Breyer said voter-suppression was a disease that had improved but was still there.
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    What exactly was Scalia referring to when he spoke of 'racial entitlement'?

    On a positive note though Mississippi just a few weeks ago ratified the 13th Amendment 147 years after it was introduced which finally abolishes slavery in all 50 states.
    Mississippi ratifies 13th amendment abolishing slavery ... 147 years late | World news | guardian.co.uk

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    Sounds like something that will struck out. It's clearly impeding on state federal rights in an unfair manner. If it was a 50 state requirement to get signoff it might be more arguable, but picking on specific states seems clearly unfair.
    I'm living in America, and in America, you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now f***ing pay me.

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    Politics.ie Member borntorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sync View Post
    Sounds like something that will struck out. It's clearly impeding on state federal rights in an unfair manner. If it was a 50 state requirement to get signoff it might be more arguable, but picking on specific states seems clearly unfair.
    It does a bit. Roberts pointed out that Massachusetts has the worst turn out of black voters and the worst disparity in voter registration, and wondered why the law didn't concern itself with that state.

    Scalia is a complete turd of a man, though.

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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    When you consider the woman mentioned in the State of the Union address that had to wait 7 hours to vote in Florida you see that voter-suppression remains a big deal in some Southern states in particular, though Florida is not covered by Section 5.
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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    I'm not saying voter suppression is unfair or that the states in question don't practice it. I'm saying I thinkg that forbidding certain states from managing their voting rules themselves will be held to be unconstitutional.
    I'm living in America, and in America, you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now f***ing pay me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by borntorum View Post
    It does a bit. Roberts pointed out that Massachusetts has the worst turn out of black voters and the worst disparity in voter registration, and wondered why the law didn't concern itself with that state.

    Scalia is a complete turd of a man, though.
    I thought it was a bit funny that he would mention that, actually many of the comments mentioned in the article mostly seemed irrelevant to whether or not the law is constitutional. Discussions about formulas for applying the law surely should be confined to congress, but I'm no lawyer.

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    Politics.ie Member borntorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papillon View Post
    I thought it was a bit funny that he would mention that, actually many of the comments mentioned in the article mostly seemed irrelevant to whether or not the law is constitutional. Discussions about formulas for applying the law surely should be confined to congress, but I'm no lawyer.
    It probably would be here. I don't know if this provision has been previously upheld by SCOTUS, though I'm guessing it probably has been, given how significant and contentious it has been. In Ireland, if the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of a piece of legislation, that's it; it doesn't revisit its decision later on

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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame_Enda View Post
    Could the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which forced the South to stop disenfranchsing African-Americans, be overturned by the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court?

    The SC has begun hearing a challenge by Shelby County, Alabama, to Section 5 of the Act, requiring 9 mainly Southern states to preclear changes to voting rules (including number of polling stations, ID requirements etc.) with the Justice Department, which has the power to block them. The states/localities subject to Section 5 are: "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".

    Congress renewed the Act for 25 years in 2006. But several conservative SC justices have expressed misgivings as to the constitutionality of the law:Conservatives have a 5-4 majority on the SC.

    The liberal judges defended the Act. Judge Sotomayor retorted to Scalia, asking "do you think the right to vote is a racial entitlement?". Judge Elena Kagan said that under any formula, Alabama would be included under the scope of Section 5, based on the number of voting-rights suits, and that the 9 states were responsible for a disproportionate number of voting rights violations. Judge Stephen Breyer said voter-suppression was a disease that had improved but was still there.
    On this issue, the Supreme Court is finely balanced.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy would be considered the "swing" vote on this case, and on gay marriage. While he voted to strike down ACA, on civil rights issues, he is considered more liberal than the likes of Scalia, Alito or Roberts.

    But, after Roberts jumped ship on the ACA, who knows what might happen?
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sync View Post
    I'm not saying voter suppression is unfair or that the states in question don't practice it. I'm saying I thinkg that forbidding certain states from managing their voting rules themselves will be held to be unconstitutional.
    It was not unconstitutional for the Court to interfere in the 2000 Presidential Election and decide how Florida should vote.

    Oh, yeah, the Court also decided "we won't do this again" so that makes it alright.
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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