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Ed Driscoll

‘Is the South Still Racist?’

March 6th, 2013 - 6:56 pm

“A Supreme Court case reveals the divide between liberals and conservatives in the US,” Daniel Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal:

At times even a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court finds it useful, as the saying goes, to put the hay down where the goats can get it. And so it was last week in oral arguments over a big voting-rights case.

At issue in Shelby County v. Holder was whether some states in the American South, unlike many states in the North, must still submit any change in voting practices to the Justice Department for approval, as required by one section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted, the practical enforcement of this provision is mainly directed at Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

After listening to his liberal colleagues argue that Alabama’s election practices, as interpreted by various legal formulas four decades after the law’s passage, still discriminate against blacks, Chief Justice John Roberts put the hay down in front of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

Chief Justice Roberts: General, is it the government’s submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North?

General Verrilli: It is not, and I do not know the answer to that, Your Honor. . . .

Chief Justice Roberts: Well, once you said it is not, and you don’t know the answer to it?

General Verrilli: I—it’s not our submission. As an objective matter, I don’t know the answer to that question.

Shelby County was one of those moments when one wished the Supreme Court allowed its oral arguments to be televised. Some cases are crucial to the nation’s sense of itself, and this is one of them. At its center lies Justice Roberts’s blunt question: Is the American South irredeemably racist?

As Henninger writes, “The answer should matter for a country that chose to call itself the United States of America and sacrificed much to preserve the idea. The common goal, one may assume, is to be united.” But good luck with that, when its would-be ruling class needs an Emmanuel Goldstein to be the boogeyman.

Related: “Bill Cosby Suggests GOP Wants to Bring Back Slavery.”  Naturally, because (a) this is CNN, and (b) it was said on a show hosted by lame duck anchor Soledad O’Brien, Cosby’s lunatic statement is accepted without argument or ridicule from the host.

And speaking of CNN and the South, “CNN already back to credulously citing SPLC hate group lists,” Mary Katharine Ham writes Hot Air.

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