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Rule of Law

Supreme Court Buries Section 5 of Voting Rights Act

June 25th, 2013 - 9:04 am

The Supreme Court has decided Shelby v. Holder. It is one of the most important decisions in decades.

Now, federal preclearance of state election procedures seems to be forever dead and buried. While some congressional Republicans had vowed to enact new legislation to “fix” any coverage formula deemed unconstitutional, the opinion today offers almost no room to do so. They would have to decide what’s more important: the Republican Party, or the Constitution?

Section 5 required states to obtain preclearance approval for any change involving elections — any change, even moving a polling place 20 feet. Only 15 states were covered by Section 5, including hotbeds of Jim Crow like Michigan, New York, and Alaska.

Over the years, the Justice Department unit enforcing Section 5 has had hundreds of thousands of dollars in court sanctions imposed against it for abusing the Section 5 process.  They even demanded that Alabama submit felon DNA testing to the Justice Department for approval, a law which had nothing to do with elections.

Now, voter ID laws in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi are in effect after a delay of years. Section 5 is dead and gone, and congressional Republicans, no matter how much racialist false witness is lobbed at them, simply have no ability to resurrect the law. Will the GOP defend itself against the already-commenced false racial attacks following the decision, or will they cave?

This decision restores the original post-15th Amendment balance to the Constitution. The opinion quoted the Tenth Amendment, and the Supreme Court  asserted the core function of our federal system — to preserve liberty:

But the federal balance “is not just an end in itself: Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”

In 2006, congressional Republicans hastily approved — and President Bush signed — a reauthorization of Section 5 that made the law even more burdensome. Those new burdens were not lost on the Supreme Court today:

Those extraordinary and unprecedented features were reauthorized — as if nothing had changed. In fact, the Act’s unusual remedies have grown even stronger. When Congress reauthorized the Act in 2006, it did so for another 25 years on top of the previous 40 — a far cry from the initial five-year period.

The 2006 reauthorization was a shady deal between Republicans and the racialist left: Republicans thought it would buy them peace and safely racially gerrymandered seats. Today, the Supreme Court repeatedly cited the 2006 deal as a reason to strike down the law. Some congressional Republicans have vowed to “fix” the coverage formula after any Supreme Court decision. Among them are Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WS):

When asked if Republicans have the political will to act if the VRA is struck down, Sensenbrenner told Salon: “I’m gonna make them fix it.”

There’s only one problem with his promise: the Supreme Court left almost no room to “fix” anything. Only in “exceptional circumstances” may the federal government have power to preclear state-election law changes. “Exceptional circumstances” is a term pulled from the jurisprudence to describe conditions blacks faced in 1964.

Anyone with any sense knows those days are gone.

Congressional Republicans should ignore the inevitable slurs from the racialist Left and find better things to do besides “fix” a law that the Supreme Court has found to be mostly unfixable and which has upset the constitutional order for the last couple of decades.

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Top Rated Comments   
That would your campaign. Republicans fought Jim Crow.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have taken a minor step towards preserving at least some states rights from federal overreach. To resurrect Jim Crow we need to resurrect Speaker Byrd and other fabled KKK leaders (democrats all).
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
That Democratic thing?

Naa. We want everyone to vote, we just want them to be alive when they do it and just do it once.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (44)
All Comments   (44)
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One can only hope that affirmative action is next to go.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is pretty great to see Texas, Alabama, and other states begin to move on this issue already. As Paul Weyrich said "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." We are losing the demographic race, regardless of what happens on the immigration bill, so something has to be done.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for making it clear that the basis of Conservative politics is a call for white power.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have not had much good news these past five years, this is terrific. Important. Hooray for all Americans.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am somewhat confused about the argument here.

If the twenty-first amendment overrules the eighteenth, and the twelfth overrules the Constitutional language about the election of the President, then the fifteenth trumps the tenth just by the plain language.

I can agree that the first through tenth amendments could be considered co-equal and require some balancing to get right, and arguments about where that balance should be are germane. But the fifteenth amendment clearly says that the Congress, not the States or the People, have the power to address discrimination in the ability to vote. No balancing with prior Constitutional text or Constitutional Law should be considered, nor permitted.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since the voting rights act provision that allow the feds to intervene in a situation where discrimination is clearly proven, is still in place, congress retains that power. What they no longer retain, and should not retain, is the ability to completely dictate any satates voting laws, absense proven discrimination.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're kidding right? This isn't poker. Higher doesn't mean better.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am totally not kidding. Higher means more authoritative not better. And if you do not think so, then don't recognize the DC electors in the Presidential election, or allow the President to serve more than two terms. This is important, and for the Supreme Court to say something different is completely at odds with my understanding of the amendment process for our Constitution.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're wrong. Not sure how else to put it. Your "understanding of the Amendment process" is flawed. Simply, the 15th and 10th can be read consistently. Suggest you focus on Section 2. There is a magic word in there that preserves the 10th amendment on voting issues. Moreover, other provisions of the Constitution apply and survive. The 15th Amendment was a narrow one in so far as it applied to race, and required appropriate legislation.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some good news after yesterday's disappointing punt.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well hold on, I think we will lose on DOMA.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
A step in the right direction. From the reaction of Democrats - white as well as black - you'd think the Supreme Court had just told us it's ok to murder our own babies or something. Oh, wait...
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
This regime is well used to ignoring court rulings against it. Noting that the Institutional Republicans will run cowering to the Journo-List 2.0 and Weigolist media and promise to overturn the Constitution if only they hint that they might not call them nasty names; what options are there if the Federal government just ignores the ruling. Keeping in mind that surely John Roberts has been sternly reminded of whatever it was that caused him to switch to vote for Obamacare.

Subotai Bahadur
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The difference is the regime now has to actively fight every change to state and local election law instead of slow-walking the pre-clearance until after the election.

The US Supreme Court decision Crawford v. Marrion County provides a precedence for what kind of voter ID law is constitutional. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawford_v._Marion_County_Election_Board Clone the Indiana law and you're golden. It's now much more difficult for the Obama administration to delay until after 2014 the implementation of the voter ID laws, restrictions on absentee voting, changing hours polls are open, etc.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anybody who disagrees with libs will be called "racist!" so get over it. It doesn't mean anything except they don't feel like thinking. But I think it's really getting to the point where stupid people think it's okay to hurt anyone who doesn't give them what they want. Because national media constantly describe things they don't understand as simply evil. The shooting will start soon.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, Ed, you are wrong about that. Despite its frequent overuse, being called a racist still carries a sting, and if you host a TV series, may cost you your job.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Finally. Now dead Democrats in a few states will have to actually show up AND show ID to vote.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think so. Holder as much as said he's not going to let DoJ obey this ruling. To him and his civil rights warriors, the trying to verify someone's eligibility to vote is about the same as burning a cross on their lawn.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, the ruling means that what Holder wants no longer matters as far as state voting regulations go. Now, if Holder wants to stop states from imposing voter ID laws, for example, he has to take them to court, and those courts will have to base their rulings, at least in part, on the Supreme court precedent. Suddenly, it's far more difficult for Holder and the DOJ to facilitate voter fraud in the states
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I simply do not understand why Republicans are so afraid of charges of "racism", especially considering that those charges come from the party that supported first slavery, and then Jim Crow for most of the history of this country. And then when they stopped openly supporting racism, they instituted policies that were an out right disaster to much of the black population. The Voting Rights Act was passed , to fight back against DEMOCRATIC RACISM. How dare they trot out their minstrel show Negroes, to accuse Republicans of "racism".
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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