There are some quarters out there saying that the The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its protections are obsolete in the post-Jim Crow era.
This act has been around for a mere 48 years and people want to see it gone. According to some people, It's out of date, out of touch and racism may be no more or less rampant in the south.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a vocal skeptic of the use of race in all areas of public life, cited a variety of statistics that showed starker racial disparities in some aspects of voting in Massachusetts than in Mississippi. Then he asked the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer whether the Obama administration thinks “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North.
One Justice went so far as to say that the VRA represents racial entitlement:
Then, it is reenacted 5 years later, again for a 5-year term. Double-digits against it in the Senate. Then it was reenacted for 7 years. Single digits against it. Then enacted for 25 years, 8 Senate votes against it. And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.
Is Justice Scalia saying that the Supreme Court should be legislating from the bench? It is breathaking on its surface what is being discussed -- that something only 48 years old should be dismantled -- even with verifiable proof that it helps people vote. The fact is this: the South has an abysmal record with regard to minorities and access to the voting polls.
So we watch and wait to see what happens. In the mean time, We have another sector of society that wants NO changes at all to something that was ratified 232 years ago. Our Second amendment. Most Americans want to see gun laws changed and it met with fierce push back from gun rights activists -- or as I like to call them -- gun lovers.
Jim Crow was a series of laws passed mostly in the south as a way to circumvent the 13th 14th and 15th Amendment's (the last passed in 1870). The 15th acknowledged that people of color no matter their status had a right to vote.
(Note that Section 2 specifically spells out the right of Congress to create laws like the Voting Rights Act.)
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Yet that right was denied and abridged so severely that 95 years later Voting Rights Act was passed to stop in part, Jim Crow. The Supreme court is actually discussing whether or not we need laws to continue these protections. Do we need these protections? We could ask Marco McMillian, a mayoral candidate in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Mr. McMillian -- running as the first openly gay and black man for the town mayor could be asked about the Voting rights act. One problem: he's now dead
. Investigators say it is suspected homicide. Imagine that, a black gay man found dead in Mississippi -- a man taking part in the political process. A man that wanted to make the world a better place. A man that could run for public office because of the reconstruction amendments
-- and the Voting rights act.
20 beautiful young babies were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut (and since then thousands of victims of gun violence) and the NRA is saying nothing can be done about gun violence due to the second amendment and we have a Supreme court wondering about Voting rights and racial privilege. I don't understand this:
Why is it that the 232 year old 2nd Amendment must be enforced based on modern interpretation of what it means, while the 48 year old Voting Rights Act - which is based on specific language in the 15th amendment - is somehow out of date and not worthy of enforcement?
Don't get me started about the Violence Against Women Act.