What Planet Do They Live On?

Yesterday, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court effectively eviscerated the Voting Rights Act.

Without bothering to identify precisely what part of the constitution it violated, the Court invalidated Congress’ most recent identification, in Section 4, of the states subject to the operation of Section 5. Section 5 requires that the states so identified obtain prior approval of changes to their voting laws.

According to the majority decision, efforts to suppress minority voting are no longer a problem in the states subject to the act.  The current coverage system, according to Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is “based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day.”

Evidently,  the newspapers on whatever planet Roberts lives on haven’t covered the persistent and concerted efforts at vote suppression that have characterized the last two election cycles.

As the New York Times noted,

The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.

In a saner age, the opinion would not be so devastating; it explicitly allows Congress to “update” the list of states subject to Section Five.

If we had a Congress rather than a partisan zoo, that might actually happen. As it is, however, remedial action is unlikely. When an aide to a Republican House member was asked when Congress might revisit the matter, he responded “Sometime after the Rapture.”

It’s going to get very ugly.


  1. It’s definitely a bad sign of the times that I read the title and didn’t know what of the many recent things that have occurred over the last couple of day it referred to.

  2. I suppose the SCotUS majority learned most of their history from the likes of Newt Gingrich or Pat Buchanan? Still, if there were to be a Rapture, do any Republicans in Congress (or their aides, for that matter) really think that they might be going somewhere? That is hilarity incarnate.

  3. Obviously Clarence is not aware he is black and could lose his right to vote…except on Supreme Court issues. This action could reach other factions in this country than racial; discrimination against women and gays are already overt issues at this time. Seniors and disabled could be added to their list of the unqualified voters who are unworthy of that civil right. The SCOTUS needs to read and be tested on the meaning of the Constitution of the United States and all Amendments…but who will bring that action before them for a vote?

  4. Truly the stuff of revolution. One possible reaction to the problem of running the worlds
    most influential nation without a functioning legislature: Perhaps the executive branch needs to step in and fill the void. Sweeping executive action. Aggressive measures taken in response to the critical issues. Let the lawsuits fly. They can work it out after he is gone. For now, DO SOMETHING. STRICTLY enforce all the voter rights laws that could be helpful to the voter NOW. Strictly enforce EPA. Strictly enforce IRS rules dealing with tax cheats…And Tax Collection.
    Just DO IT. Forget congress. It is gone for now. It might come back. In it absence, we have work to do. And lets really move forward on an energy program. Do EVERYTHING possible under executive orders. Let the Tea Baggers spin. The rest of us need to move forward.

  5. Thank you patmcc; your message coupled with the Federal Insider article on the waning life of Nelson Mandela are filled with lessons needed to be learned in this country and by the current administration. Thank you again.

  6. I suggest the comment above to “Forget Congress” is a dangerous path. And since one must show ID simply to enter the downtown Federal Building, then producing ID to vote can’t be that onerous.

  7. Here we go again. Citizens have a constitutional right to cast a vote. They have no constitutionally protected rights to drive a car, get on an airplane, or I guess enter the downtown Federal Building. For many people who are citizens of the United States, it IS that onerous to obtain an ID. That’s precisely the reason the Republicans have forced it down our throats. It’s called voter suppression. Apparently the only way Republicans can win is by cheating.

  8. Religious conservatism = “I’m right and always will be because I go to church and talk to the creator of the universe. Democracy is a hindrance to theocracy and the great cloud god says we shall prevail no matter what means it takes…we are above the laws, and must force the ill-informed public to the ways of our belief”

    “And if you don’t vote the way we like we’ll take that right away from you…god has spoken! “

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