Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Act

There’s something to be said about the Supreme Court striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 while America’s first black president is in office. If I had to choose one word to describe what the nation’s highest court has done, the word progress would not be it. But I suppose that would depend on who you ask; because, one man’s progress can be another man’s, “We want our country back!” And of course you know why.

To that point, as ridiculously absurd as the reasoning for the decision by Justice John Roberts, I suppose black folks are supposed to trust “certain people” to do the right thing. Which is ironic today when you consider that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) asked President Obama to establish a task force to look at and secure Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act back in 2011. Unfortunately, that request — among others — fell on deaf ears, and was never fulfilled (read here).

This from Think Progress:

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling striking down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, for the moment at least, eliminated the requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination pre-clear election and voting law changes to ensure they do not disenfranchise minority voters. While the remaining provisions will still ban outright racial discrimination, those states and localities previously covered will now be able to implement changes first and victims will have to prove discrimination after the fact.

In the past year, the U.S. Department of Justice denied pre-clearance to four laws it deemed discriminatory — and federal courts upheld three of those four determinations.

supreme-court_voting-rights-actYes, we’re now forced to be post-racial in spite of evidence to the contrary. What matters now in the eyes of some, is that there’s a black man in the White House which signals the end of racism as we know. Never mind recent attempts to suppress the votes of black folk and other minority voters. When the black voter turnout surpassed that of white voters in November 2012’s general election for the first time in history, our fate was sealed. The aforementioned record voter turnout which also saw 72% of Latino voters casting a ballot for President Obama, may have been the nail in the proverbial coffin for freedom, justice, and equality. In my opinion, the results of last year’s elections which secured President Barack Obama a second term in spite of failed attempts of disenfranchisement was the straw that broke the back of whiteness, hence the Supreme Courts decision.

Today, the Supreme Court tossed out Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the key 1965 law meant to prevent disenfranchisement of minority voters. Section 4 says states and other jurisdictions that have sufficient histories of voting discrimination have to go through what’s called “preclearance” under Section 5 of the law whenever they redistrict or otherwise update their voting laws. Currently those jurisdictions cover most of the South but also Manhattan, Brooklyn, some counties in California and South Dakota, and towns in Michigan. (source)

Watch the video below to understand:

Until congress acts on this, we can expect an explosion of laws meant to disenfranchise minority voters across the country. As a matter of fact, it only took two hours from yesterday’s announcement for several states to announce plans to do just that. Until congress acts, we won’t see a return to poll taxes and literacy tests for would-be minority voters in the future like the days of old. But you can bet your bottom dollar that we will see lines redrawn so as to weaken Democratic districts so as to strengthen Republican strongholds. You know, something that’s antithetic to the intent of democracy. This may be a victory for some today, but given the success of the Civil Rights Movement in the past, I suspect that this fight is not over. If anything, I believe they’re underestimating the power of the minority vite, much like they did in last year’s general election.

One potential change could be the unspooling of majority-minority districts, which had led to a significant increase in the number of black and Hispanic lawmakers serving in Congress. In states covered by the VRA, line-drawers were required to maintain the number of majority-minority districts or run afoul of pre-clearance. With Section 5 not currently enforceable, states might consider undoing some of those districts — moving reliably Democratic black and Hispanic voters into other more Republican-leaning seats and in some states making it less likely that those seats would elect Democrats. (source)

I tell you one thing, folks: Given this week’s Supreme Court decision to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act, don’t ever tell me anything about the Republican Party being anti-slavery, pro-freedom, and the party of Martin Luther King Jr. and all that jazz. Sorry, I’m not buying that crap after this week.