Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a guest of Bill O'Rielly at the FAUX News Fraudcasting table, at the 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. For those of us who have to actually read the transcripts of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, Scalia asks questions based upon willfully ignorant information he obviously learned from watching FAUX News, with a disturbing regularity.
And why is this important?
Gary May writes at the Washington Post, Scalia’s limited understanding of the Voting Rights Act:
In the debate over the future
of the Voting Rights Act, it sometimes becomes apparent that certain members of the
Supreme Court are either oblivious to our nation’s recent history or
willfully ignore it. Justice Antonin Scalia
made this abundantly clear in his comments during the Feb. 27 oral argument in
Shelby County v. Holder, statements that he repeated in a speech on April 15.
To Scalia, the Voting Rights Act — especially Section 5,
which requires covered states to submit any changes in voting practices
to the Justice Department or a Washington court for approval — is a
“racial entitlement” and a violation of state sovereignty. In his view,
it unfairly and unnecessarily treats seven Southern states, plus Alaska,
Arizona and parts of six others, differently from states not covered by
the act. This month, according to the Wall Street Journal, he called
the act a form of “racial preferment” that affected only African Americans while ignoring the white population.
Such statements indicate that Scalia is woefully ignorant of the
legislation’s history. Because of our nation’s painful legacy of racial
injustice, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has often been used to
safeguard black voters specifically, but its protections extend to all
Americans regardless of skin color, as was vividly demonstrated in the
period after its passage.
Enactment of the Voting Rights Act also
led to the abolition of the poll tax. So in May 1966, African Americans
were able to vote freely for the first time in an off-year primary
election. Across the South, many blacks sought a host of elected
offices, from county sheriff to seats in state legislatures.
* * *
Analysts later discovered that, while their projections had accounted
for the historic enfranchisement of Alabama’s blacks, they had missed
an equally important development: the even greater expansion of the
white vote. By eliminating the literacy tests and other impediments such
as the poll tax, the Voting Rights Act gave many poor whites the
opportunity to register and cast ballots. A skillful get-out-the-vote
campaign by Wallace’s staff added 110,000 new voters to the white
majority, decreasing black influence even as the number of black voters
grew. Nor was this phenomenon limited to Alabama. Throughout the South,
many of the new registrants were white.
This election indicates that Scalia is wrong when he calls the
Voting Rights Act “a racial preferment” that provides no protection for
white voters. The
act protects all voters, especially in the states and districts
covered by Section 5, from any obstacles that might be put in their way.
That was true in 1966 and remains true today as efforts to suppress the
minority vote continue. Scalia needs to do his homework before the
court determines the act’s future.
Gary May is a history professor at the University of Delaware and the author of “Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy.”