South (mostly) remains in bondage

The U.S. Supreme Court should, I suppose, be commended for exercising judicial restraint in declining to declare a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 unconstitutional — while signaling the belief that it is.

At issue is Section 5, a discriminatory provision  of the act that holds Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, most of Virginia and a number of counties and towns in seven other states, in bondage to the Civil Right Division of the the U.S. Department of Justice.  In theory, jurisdictions that have no record of discrimination are allowed to be exempted.  That “out,” however, is a sham.  In more than a quarter century, 27 years, only 17 of 12,000 jurisdictions have been allowed out.

The reality is that Section 5 gives every incentive to those who wish to keep jurisdictions under the thumb of the Justice Department’s civil rights division to find “evidence” of intentional discrimination by state and local officials. 

The provision was extended three years ago by Congress for 25 years and signed into law by President George W. Bush.  Congress extended it not because there’s any current justification, but because the law for the most part affected somebody else.  No Congress is willing to apply the law to all states.

As Gov. Sonny Perdue, noted after the decision, the court’s ruling signaled serious constitutional concerns about the act’s provision.   “Unfortunately,” he said, “the court chose to rule only on the narrow, statutory issue presented…I look forward to the day when this provision is either ruled unconstitutional, or, if ruled constitutional, then applied to all 50 states rather than singling out a few.” Perdue filed a brief on behalf of the Texas utility that had brought the challenge.

Congress should get the message. Either it applies the law only to those jurisdictions where there’s evidence of discrimination — or be assured that the next challenge won’t be resolved “on the narrow, statutory issue presented.”

110 comments Add your comment

conservative democrat

June 23rd, 2009
8:24 am

If we really wanted to get rid of a sham, we could eliminate the elitist electoral college.

gayblackcripple

June 23rd, 2009
8:24 am

I hope you are correct Jim.

Please however let it be in a few years after one of the conservative old men die – preferably the fat guinea or uncle tom.

clyde

June 23rd, 2009
8:34 am

The South got itself into this mess and has only itself to blame.Can it be trusted to change?I doubt it.

HDB

June 23rd, 2009
8:39 am

Problem is…discrimination still exists in the South…and certain laws will deny people the right to vote. Don’t think that Georgia’s ID law doesn’t discriminate against those who can not get the proper credentials to verify who they are. For those of us who can get a birth certificate, so be it…but for those who can not and wish to exercise their civil rights, they are discriminated against. The few states that were singled out had pervasive discriminatory voting patterns;that’s why the Voting Rights Act focused on that idiom.

Lest you forget……

Leon

June 23rd, 2009
8:43 am

JWoot writes “That “out,” however, is a sham. In more than a quarter century, 27 years, only 17 of 12,000 jurisdictions have been allowed out.”

If truthfully written it would read “The bailout provision had already been available to more than 12,000 entities that register voters. But since 1982, only 17 had applied to be removed from oversight”

But don’t let facts get in the way of your little non-story Jim.

Road Scholar

June 23rd, 2009
8:51 am

Only a conservative would use the word “bondage” in this article.

Tricky D

June 23rd, 2009
8:52 am

Handel’s actions last year in trying to keep eligible minority voters from voting only makes the case that this provision needs to stay. And for you wingnuts, that investigation of the Ga SOS’s practices began under a republican administration.

Concerned Mom

June 23rd, 2009
8:53 am

HDB–discrimination is a problem everywhere, not just the South. And quite a few states outside of this ruling have the similar requirements in order to obtain a state mandated ID. In the state I just moved from, the ID problem was argued for the whole seven years I spent there and still not resolved.

Churchill's MOM

June 23rd, 2009
9:01 am

Just a little news from our next President

Top Republicans and Democrats across Alaska are quietly lining up to run for governor amid growing speculation that Sarah Palin will not seek reelection in 2010.

No candidate, including Palin, has yet filed papers with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Palin’s office declined an opportunity to explain her thinking on the 2010 race, and the Republican Governors Association said it would not comment on discussions it has had with the governor.

But a number of Democrats and Republicans in Alaska and Washington who spoke to POLITICO believe her silence is a sign she will not pursue a second term as governor so that she can play a larger role on the national political stage.

At least three Democrats and six Republicans are mulling over runs as they wait on the governor to make her decision.

“There is nothing that she has done that leads me to believe she will seek reelection,” said Andrew Halcro, a former Republican state legislator who ran for governor as an independent candidate in 2006 and is weighing another run. “If you’re Palin, once you’ve flown first class, you don’t go back to coach. She’s been to the show and certainly seemed to like it there.”

“I have no doubt in my mind that, barring some unforeseen collapse on the national stage, she won’t seek reelection,” he added.

“We don’t think she’s running,” said a Washington-based Democratic operative who is closely watching the gubernatorial race.

“[There is a] 50-50 chance she runs for governor,” said a former Palin staffer involved in state Republican politics, noting, “If Sarah Palin has proven anything in her career, it’s that she is full of surprises.”

The governor has not publicly committed one way or another, telling CNN two weeks ago that she is not “going to do anything yet.”

“What I’m trying to get done for Alaska right now is to get that Alaska gas line built,” she said. “We need those energy sources flowing through North America. That’s what my focus is.”

Alaska pols expect Palin to wait as long as she can before announcing her intentions, in order to keep her options open and to minimize the time she would be a lame duck if she declines to run again.

In 2006, Palin spent $304,000 in trouncing incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski and former state Sen. John Binkley in the Republican primary. In the general, she and running mate Sean Parnell spent an additional $1.15 million to beat former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles 48 percent to 41 percent.

The Alaska governor would not be able to tap her vast national fundraising network for the statewide race, as Alaska sets a low cap on the amount of money a candidate can raise from outside the state. But her ability to quickly raise cash from around Alaska has been bolstered by her vice presidential run and remains unrivaled, several Alaska sources asserted.

“It’s going to be basically impossible to know what the governor is going to do,” said one potential Democratic candidate. “There is no upside for her in announcing early. She can raise all the money she wants.”

Palin is likely to announce her intentions next spring, around the time she begins traveling the country as part of her expected book tour.

State Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich is urging Palin to decide earlier so that in the event she decides against a second term, GOP candidates will have enough time to organize their campaigns.

“I had earlier encouraged the governor to not take a position yet, but in the interest of Republicans holding the seat, I hope she makes the decision by early fall,” Ruedrich said.

Palin’s approval ratings have taken a serious hit since 2008, when John McCain’s presidential campaign touted her as the most popular governor in the country. Still, she remains strong enough to scare off most GOP challengers.

“I’d never say no one would challenge her, but the likelihood is low,” said Ruedrich

lovelyliz

June 23rd, 2009
9:01 am

Getting yourself out of a hole you dug just isn’t that easy.

blueface

June 23rd, 2009
9:01 am

Ajc you wonder why your readership is deminishing, it is articles like this that make readers want to throw-up. You have always swayed towards a more conservative view in your writers. Your writers dont know what bondage is, this just that southern pride you folks talk about coming out.

lovelyliz

June 23rd, 2009
9:03 am

Asking the Courts to forigve a persistant pattern of voting right violations that were rampant in certian areas just a few decades ago when folks haven’t gotten over the Civil War which was fought 150 year in the past is a bit much.

conservative democrat

June 23rd, 2009
9:04 am

HDB, even if someone doesn’t have a birth certificate they can get one. My uncle was born in Tattanal county and the courthouse in Reidsville burned. He had lost his birth record, so he had to get my mom to sign a affidavit to attest to his identity. But, he was able to get the required documentation.
You are correct that, “…few states that were singled out HAD pervasive discriminatory voting patterns…” (emphasis on the past tense). Your are living 40 years in the past. Of the 12,000 entities, 11,983 didn’t seem to feel overburdened by the requirement enough to try to be exempted. What does that tell you?

Eric

June 23rd, 2009
9:07 am

The main reason the Voting Rights Act exists to this day is because the conservative southern morons wanted to keep things proper and keep minorities in their “so- called” place. Now that same faction of people are whining about being singled out because they didn’t want to play fair.

You Southern conservertives can’t be trusted to do right by everyone. I say keep The Voting Rights Act in place until all the Trent Lotts and Strom Thurmond clowns are dead and gone.

Jackie

June 23rd, 2009
9:07 am

Are we to believe the majority population is in bondage to the Federal government, i.e., the Constitution, or should we take the gist of the conversation to mean bondage is a product of past abhorrent and illegal patterns and practices of the majority toward the minority?

zeke

June 23rd, 2009
9:20 am

No, discrimination does not exist only in the South! You and I have a Constitutional right to like or dislike as we please by freedom of choice! I am white! I have many people who are black, Hispanic and Asian that I associate with and consider friends! I also have many whites with which I will not associate! THAT IS MY CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT! There is as much or more so called discrimination in the North and West as in the South! Many blacks that left the South to go North are moving back to the South! Their common reason is that IT IS MUCH WORSE IN THE NORTH THAN IN THE SOUTH! GO FIGURE!!!

Eric

June 23rd, 2009
9:21 am

The decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the 1965 Voting Rights Act was needed because the act has done more to expand and strengthen our democracy than any other law that I can think of. It allowed disenfranchised voters relief from voter suppression tactics of the “good ole boy system of the south”.

JLK

June 23rd, 2009
9:21 am

Having solved all our pressing problems, Mr. Wooten now has time to be upset that those who’ve been caught cheating are under a mandate to play fair while those who didn’t cheat are allowed to play fair under their own volition. Congratulations, Mr. Wooten. My, but you’ve come a long way indeed.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:27 am

The Justice Department may drop a closely watched legal case aimed at
forcing the Swiss bank UBS to divulge the names of 52,000 wealthy
American clients suspected of offshore tax evasion, The New York Times
reported, citing a United States official briefed on the matter.

The move, which would halt an unusually aggressive effort to force
Switzerland to lift its veil of banking secrecy, could happen by
mid-July.

The reversal comes as UBS and senior Swiss government officials have
mounted a fierce lobbying campaign to persuade Washington to drop the
case. UBS argues that disclosing client names would cause it to violate
Swiss financial secrecy laws and open its executives and bankers to
prosecution in Switzerland.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:29 am

Republic Airways Holdings has offered $108.75 million to buy Frontier
Airlines, as the Denver-based airline prepares to exit Chapter 11
bankruptcy.

Copyleft

June 23rd, 2009
9:29 am

Truly, no one is more oppressed than the conservative white male in the South. Pity the tragic victims!

Sorry, southern bigots… given your track record, we’d be crazy to trust you to suddenly start doing the right thing voluntarily.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:30 am

The annual charity auction of a steak lunch with billionaire investor
Warren E. Buffett, which raised a record $2.11 million last year, is
off to a strong start.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:31 am

New York hedge-fund manager, Edward T. Stein, pleaded guilty to
running a $30 million Ponzi scheme.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:33 am

Securities regulators have filed civil fraud charges against four
individuals, including the investment adviser Stanley Chais and the
officers of a securities firm co-founded by Bernard L. Madoff, accusing
them of knowingly steering billions of dollars into the Ponzi scheme.

TRUTH

June 23rd, 2009
9:33 am

Jim and the rest of you fruit cases, you are living in LALA land. You really don’t think there is evidence of ANY discriminatory practices?? (You know there is a movement to legalize what you folks are obviously smoking).

AJC, why are you running this unsubstantiated mess?? Trying to get on the Rushbo – Hannity Train?? Think Fox News is going to add you as an asset to their version of the evil empire??!! What’s next? Another column about President Obama’s birth certificate??

I know you folks can feel that power and the ability to lie with a straight face slipping from your grasp. The whole world is watching and laughing at your incredibly pompous stupidity.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:34 am

Separately, the widow of the French aristocrat who committed suicide in
December after losing $1.4 billion of his clients’ money with Mr.
Madoff accused the convicted swindler of murdering her husband.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

June 23rd, 2009
9:35 am

Former newspaper mogul Conrad Black is asking a federal judge in
Chicago to release him from a Florida prison while he appeals his fraud
conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

JF McNamara

June 23rd, 2009
9:36 am

If you’re not doing anything wrong, then who cares about the law?

I don’t understand why this keeps coming up. Is there excessive oversight or something? Why would lobbyist/conservatives keep paying to make this an issue? This being on the books doesn’t affect the everyday lives of anyone.

yeawhatever

June 23rd, 2009
9:42 am

I couldnt care less a bout whether or not the voting rights act is overturned or not. I read this expecting to learn something else that the govt is doing and instead I read these hateful comments from black people against white southerners. I am astonished at the reverse racism that is blatant on these posts. I have never held anyone down nor approved of racism and it seems to me that the majority of white people are trying to overcome the past while black people just want to wallow in it. Enjoy your hatred.

conservative democrat

June 23rd, 2009
9:43 am

Zeke, you wrote…”No, discrimination does not exist only in the South!” Does the double negative mean discrimination only exist in the south?

TIME IS UP EVIL REPUBLICANS

June 23rd, 2009
9:57 am

GOOD ALL OF THE EVIL OLD REDNECKS ARE DYING OFF,THE CIVIL WAR WAS LOST BY THE COWARD REBELS,AND THE DIXIE REDNECK WHITES WANT TO REKINDLE THAT WAR BUT YOU WILL LOOSE,YOU GOT THAT HICKS!

P.S.THE OLD SATANIC GLORY OF DIXIE WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN WEAK NEO-NAZIS TRAILOR TRASH!

yeawhatever

June 23rd, 2009
10:00 am

In regards to “TIME IS UP EVIL REPUBLICANS” Your an idiot.

getalife

June 23rd, 2009
10:15 am

If you want a public option for health care, these Senators want you to sign their petition:

http://ga3.org/campaign/healthpetition?qp_source=hc%5fhp

It’s easy.

Scott

June 23rd, 2009
10:36 am

Too many people vote in this country. I believe that if the Bill of Rights were subject to an up or down vote, it would lost 70-30. Too many people vote for a living. They vote for the person who will give them the most government money. They probably know more about Kevin Federline than about Sam Alito. Perhaps if everyone who voted had the rich life experiences of a Latina woman, then we would have no problems.

Really? « Walk In Brain

June 23rd, 2009
10:51 am

[...] Why yes, he did. Do you really want to use terms like “bondage” here, Jimmy? [...]

Eric

June 23rd, 2009
11:40 am

Yeahwhatever

It should be you’re an idiot.
Maybe you never oppressed anyone but that does mean it didn’t happen. We are dealing with a centuries old evil practice that needs reform. If you don’t participate in the oppression then you have nothing to worry about.

whatever

June 23rd, 2009
11:41 am

BTW, for all those bashing the south, it was the brilliant northerners that thought of segregation. they thought that because the south, unlike their segregated cities up north, would have cities in which blacks and whites would live together closely, that segregation was the only way to keep the peace during reconstruction.

so, before anyone gets on their high horse about segregation, remember where the geniuses came from that thought of that brilliant idea.

anyone that has lived or travelled in the north knows that discrimination is just as rampant up there, but they do a better job of hiding it and denying it.

san francisco perspective

June 23rd, 2009
11:44 am

“discriminatory”…….”bondage”………….the use of such inflammatory language in response to the Voting Rights Act itself highlights why we have the Voting Rights Act. To conflate Justice Dept efforts for universal voting with slavery and exclusion is something lifted straight from the Southern Manifesto (the document from the mid-20th century written by that period’s Sonny Perdues and Trent Lotts to massively resist integration). Wooten’s white power conservatism has unfortunately become a GOP talking point….Regional minority party status has been well-earned !

Copyleft

June 23rd, 2009
12:07 pm

Thank you, Scott, for your anti-democratic opinion. Delta is ready when you are.

Sir Stealth

June 23rd, 2009
12:21 pm

To echo others, the absurd use of the word “bondage” in the title of this article is pretty much Exhibit A for why we still need the Voting Rights Act enforced in the South. Delta is not ready for me, I am from here. I love the region and every one of the states that the law applies to, but I would be absolutely kidding myself, full of it, and willfully ignorant of what I saw around me if I thought that the problems that necessitated the law had vanished enough in such a short time as to make us “enslaved” [ha] by their continued enforcement.

Mara

June 23rd, 2009
12:27 pm

Scott, who’s Kevin Federline?

hi liz, copyleft :-)

Wondering

June 23rd, 2009
12:31 pm

Someone please explain to me how a requirement that all voters have appropriate ID is in anyway discriminatory. I do not believe for an instant that anyone who is legally a citizen is incapable of obtaining some form of legitimate ID, whether it is a birth certificate, drivers license, or government issued ID. The only ones who are impacted to any extent are those who are here illegally (which means they have no legal right to vote anyway), or those who wish to keep themselves hidden from the government, which to me indicates a whole series of other problems besides not being able to vote.

Most legitimate people have the ability to obtain an ID, so why is it a problem? Because minority leaders work hard to convince everyone it is, and because those who support illegal immigration want to be sure the illegal population is not deprived of the ability to further erode our country’s laws and statutes more than they already have.

Is there one single blogger on here who is unable or incapable of obtaining an ID? If so, please let me know why you can’t do so, if you can provide a credible reason. Please don’t tell me about your cousins best friend, your brothers girlfriends brother, or other hearsay. I want to hear first hand explanations.

Bob

June 23rd, 2009
12:39 pm

States Rights versus the Federal Government has been a problem for many, many years. The State of Georgia should, like Texas and Oklahoma, declare itself a republic and tell the Federal Government to go to He@@. And all of you who want to keep slavery alive by keeping on referring back to it, need to get a life and get on with life.

lovelyliz

June 23rd, 2009
12:39 pm

Someone please explain to me how a requirement that all voters have appropriate ID is in anyway discriminatory.
**********************
Because as it stand now, voting is a right. Not a privilegde, but a right. Anything that requires $$$ supresses the right of people with out the $$$ for such ID’s and poor people are still allowed to vote. Thus the discrimination.

A simple solution might be for the government to issue, at no charge, a voter identification card for people without a driver’s license or passport, but given how much we hate to pay for anything, I won’t hold my breath.

BigMike

June 23rd, 2009
12:40 pm

It was never said ‘a chicken is coming home to roost”, The south, and literally most of America is paying a price for unthinkable acts, but the SOUTH where it has been so polarizing once again has itself dead center in the sniper’s scope. This is not to say that up North and privately kept East coast states have more than there share, but when hunting, why go to new ground when the old one(South) is still fertile.I’ll gaurantee Americans, and all Southerners the Voting Rights Act will be alive and well, because of your new Negro….Mexicans!

Jack

June 23rd, 2009
12:40 pm

As long as the bondage blowhards in here keep bellowing, we’ll never achieve harmony. Peaceful co-existence is not gained by finger-pointing.

DB, Gwinnettian

June 23rd, 2009
12:41 pm

keep jurisdictions under the thumb of the Justice Department’s civil rights division

Just so everyone knows, those jurisdictions being thumb-undered include big chunks of New York City, and parts of California’s Bay Area.

Which don’t have legions of whiny-arsed teaty baby columnists complaining about being held in “bondage” by utterly sensible Federal statutes.

I’m not exactly sure why Jim gets so bat-cr@p crazy over this issue, but it certainly generates some of his nuttiest scribblings.

Jay

June 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

As usual on Jim’s blog – ignorant red neck ranting.

Jim doesn’t like that the Supreme Court did what he always raves about – no legislating from the bench – no activist judges.

I fail to see why this law is an issue to start with. We still need the law to protect the rights of minorities because outside of Atlanta, it’s still 1961 in most of Georgia. The voter ID law is an example of trying to exclude voters who are poor.

If right wing false-patriots would quit trying to tell everyone what is wrong with everyone and everything and trying to save their “rights under the constitution”, we might actually be able to do away with these older laws that are there for the protection of the weaker people in our society. Most white males I know who subscribe to the right are the most vicious and backward thinking people I know. Fear is their motto and ignorance is their best friend.

Howl somewhere else than Georgia!

Wondering

June 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Thanks Lovely Liz. I agree voting is a right, but it is a right reserved for citizens. The problem we have now is 15 million illegal people living in our country who do not have the right to vote. We have to have a system to ensure they do not vote, and ID is the only way to do it. Birth certificates are either free or $5 for a copy, a government ID, I believe, is only $5, and given how many people I see in poor sections of town smoking cigarrettes and drinking beer or liquour, I think most poor people could afford an ID if they can afford these other luxuries. I guess it is just a matter of where they put their priorities. And before anyone jumps, I know that quite a few poor do not smoke or drink, but they are a very small minority, and I say that as I come from a very poor background and have lived in poor neighborhoods, including the Mississippi Delta area.

I think that given the bailouts of corporations, I would think the government could spring for free ID’s for those that allege they cannot afford it, but you are probably right that this is just wishful thinking.

Voting ID is a method of discriminating solely against illegal aliens, not against American citizens, minority or otherwise.

Again though, I welcome any blogger here to offer their first-hand experience at being unable or incapable of obtaining an ID.

Copyleft

June 23rd, 2009
1:18 pm

BOB: “States Rights versus the Federal Government has been a problem for many, many years.”

Yes, and it was settled by the Civil War. The “states’ rights” bigots LOST. Get over it.

Talk about living in the past….