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

bob

June 24th, 2009
8:08 am

I was not arguing anything, I was surprised to hear that a dem controlled area would be so discrimintory, the dems are the good guys.

bob

June 24th, 2009
8:12 am

san fran, you are dodging the facts in response to chad, he is correct when he says no right to vote in fed elections. Your point is correct that if one group is givin the right then all groups get that right. But chad is still correct to say that no group has the right to vote in fed elections.

Lee

June 24th, 2009
8:13 am

Just another example of how the Civil Rights Act was never about “Civil Rights” but rather, about political power.

DB, Gwinnettian

June 24th, 2009
8:19 am

Lee @ 8.13 gaining civil rights generally means gaining political power. You got a problem with that?

Californication

June 24th, 2009
8:52 am

CopyLeft, you are sadly mistaken, real Americans are NOT liberal! That is what happens when you do too many drugs, you become liberal. It seems funny that you think liberals are real American, look at the census, liberals are LESS educated and give LESS to charity, and is MORE likely to NOT have any higher education. I love the census; it really shows what losers liberals are. These are the same liberals, who can’t figure out how to do their taxes, yet they are in charge of the IRS, pretty smart isn’t it?

Californication

June 24th, 2009
8:53 am

But CopyLeft, don’t let the FACTS get in the way of your liberal lies…

[...] Jim Wooten thinks the South (mostly) remains in bondage. [...]

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP

June 24th, 2009
9:23 am

DUMB@$$ CALIFORNICATION YOU ARE ONE NUT SAYING THAT LIBRALS ARE NOT SMARTER THAN THE GOP,WHAT THE PHUCK BUSH(SUPERSTUPID) OBAMA(SMART EDUCATED) KENNEDY(SMART) L.B.JOHNSON(DUMB@$$) CLINTON(EDUCATED) REAGAN(NO BRAIN AT ALL). AND ALSO YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT GOP GIVES MORE TO CHARITY,YOU ARE A COUNTRY LIE,THE GOP IS THE PARTY THAT CUT PROGRAMS HELPING THE POOR AND ELDERLY,WHEN KATRINA HAPPEN I SAW ONLY LIBRALS ATHLETES ACTORS AND SINGERS,WHERE WAS THE CHEAP DO NOTHING REDNECK REPUBLICAN?

P.S. FOR ALL YOU DUMB REPUBLICAN BACKERS THAT HAVE LOST YOUR JOBS BY WAY OF YOUR STUPID BOY BUSH AND HIS ADMINISTRATION YOU NOW NEED THOSE WELFARE AND FOOD STAMP PROGRAMS THAT YOU HICKS WERE GLAD TO GET RID OF,HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE PUT BACK IN THE POOR HOUSE,WHEN YOU WERE LIVING IN THE BIG HOUSE WHEN CLINTON WAS IN OFFICE,NOTICE YOU HICKS CANT GO TO THE BRAVES FALCONS AND HAWKS GAMES BECAUSE YOU ALL HAD TO CUT BACK ON EVERYTHING BECAUSE OF NO INCOME NOW!

A Realist

June 24th, 2009
10:18 am

I agree with the other bloggers who stated that the headlines for this article was way over the top – “BONDAGE”..I think “NOT”.

I have been a Georgia resident since 1980 and I am a firm believer that if you let the CURRENT residents of Georgia (outside of the metropolitan areas) vote on whether or not there should still be segregation in the State, the vote would be a resounding “YES”. That is why Section 5 is still needed in this State.

William in Lithonia

July 2nd, 2009
7:36 am

I can go to an ATM machine and get a reciept but Georgia can’t figure out how to make a paper record of our votes. Why? I don’t think Georgia values democracy.

Ballot access laws in Georgia are the highest in the Nation. That denies choice too. Georgia does not have Voter sponsored Intiative, Referendum, or Recall. Georgia has the least opportunity for political choice in the Nation.

Georgia has been infamous in denial of the human right for one’s voice to be heard. It is an affront to democracy to deny a person who is part of our society a voice.

And let me be clear who is part of our society in Georgia and can’t vote:

Georgia leads the nation for people on probation, parole, and in jail, and none of them can vote until they are out of jail and off probation and parole. 54,256 in jail, 435,361 on probation and 23,111 on parole.
A total of 512,728 people who can’t vote.

Georgia has the 7th largest illegal immigrant population. They can’t vote here. People who are, working harder than most of us, and even paying taxes but who’s voices and oppinions don’t count. By some estimates there are 250,000 to 450,000 people in this category.

Georgia has 577,273 legal immigrants who can’t vote. More people who are here, paying taxes, a part of our community, but who’s voices are not allowed in government.

Democracy is reduced when we deny people the right to vote who are part of our community.

Democracy is reduced when the accuracy of our elections can’t be verified by a paper trail.

Democracy is reduced when we are denied choices.

It’s long past time for Georgia to stop implementing disinfranchisement laws and segregation and to start allowing for human rights.

The argument against allowing people to participate in our society is an argument against democracy and individual liberty it’s self.

Until then I’ll continue to proclaim:
Georgia: First in Bigotry and Prisons, Last in Education and Democracy!