Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Big Wins in the Supreme Court for Basic Voting Rights

But Look Out – Evisceration of Civil Rights and Voting Rights is Coming to a Supreme Court Near You

This Forum has often castigated Supreme Court Justice Scalia, but he has written the majority opinion saying that no, Arizona cannot demand proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.  Federal law is clear here, the Feds say that a person need only affirm that they are a citizen under penalty of perjury, and federal law trumps state law.

Arizona Republicans apparently admire the late state of East Germany and other totalitarian regimes that have thuggish police going around and “demanding papers”.  They have enacted several laws to that effect, one of which was that voters had to produce ‘papers’ to show they were citizens when they went to register to vote.  Obviously this was a ploy to deny voting rights to people with foreign sounding names, people who might not vote the right way, the Republican way.

Justice Scalia writing for a majority in the Supreme Court said, no, federal law governs the requirements for elections and federal law does not allow state laws to make onerous conditions for voting.  Here is a bunch of legalese which says Arizona cannot pre-empt federal law.

The power the Elections Clause confers is none other than the power to pre-empt. Because Congress, when it acts under this Clause, is always on notice that its legislation will displace some element of a pre-existing legal regime erected by the States, the reasonable assumption is that the text of Elections Clause legislation accurately communicates the scope of Congress’s pre-emptive intent.

But before the celebrations begin everyone should know that the Supreme Court is soon to rule on whether or not colleges can take race into account in admissions, and whether or not the Voting Rights Act can be used to ensure voting rights.  The almost certain conclusion is that the decisions will be ‘no’ and ‘no’.  The Court will likely strike down the use of any racial criteria in college admissions, (after all that is discrimination against white people; historical discrimination against black people and its lingering effects, never mind).  The Court will also likely strike down the key portions of the Voting Rights Act.  After all Republicans must be given a free hand to rig elections so that the minimum number of Democrats and minorities are represented, particularly if they cannot intimidate minority voters by demanding their papers.

No comments:

Post a Comment