After reading more of the hysterical, sneering attacks on the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, I have concluded that I initially neglected to recognize the deep bias and contempt for basic rights that underlie them. The critics have no legitimate arguments to support allowing the current formula set out in the Voting Rights Act to continue, except that they believe trampling on innocent citizens’ rights is acceptable government practice if it makes the civil rights establishment happy, and allows the myth to be perpetuated that Republicans sit up late at night trying to figure out ways of stopping blacks from voting. “It may be unconstitutional, but it works!” is the best of their claims, a pure embrace of that hallmark of corrupted ethics, the ends justify the means. Note that this is also the justification being offered by the Obama Administration for drone strikes, PRISM, and tapping the phones of reporters. This isn’t an argument but a philosophy, and one that is offensive to core American values.
The Times, no longer the premiere news source in the country but certainly the premiere Democratic Party ally masquerading as a news source, clinched it for me. In its scathing editorial condemning the decision, the only arguments it could come up with were…
- The Court shouldn’t have struck down a provision because of an admittedly outdated and unfair formula used to execute it, because it knew Congress and the President wouldn’t be able to revise it properly as they should. Everyone knows they are incapable of doing their jobs. Now, normally, one would react to such a development by saying, “Yup, that needs to be fixed forthwith. Come on, Editorial board, we need to put responsibility where it belongs, and get those slackers to do their jobs!” Because 2/3 of the dysfunctional institutions are controlled by Democrats, the Times adopts the Bizarro World reasoning that the Supreme Court is obligated not to do its job either. This theory, the foundation of virtually all the critiques of the majority’s decision, is wrong, and ethically indefensible. It is neither responsible nor logical for the U.S. Supreme Court to refrain from striking down an unconstitutional measure because the legislative and executive branches won’t be able to agree on a replacement. Imagine if the Court had avoided its conclusion in Brown v. Board of Education on the theory that segregation was the best system our legislatures would be able to agree on.
- What’s the proof that conservatives are plotting to take the vote away from blacks? Why, voter ID laws, of course. The Times, like the Democrats who cleverly and dishonestly used this canard to convince its base that Republicans wear their sheets rather than sleep under them, ignores the fact that voter ID measures have been upheld by liberal SCOTUS majorities as reasonable, and that all the flurries of fake statistics and law suits about the proposed measures last year managed to produce no potential voter who would actually be prevented from voting by an ID requirement. Suppression of black votes used to mean actual obstruction of efforts to vote—now, it apparently means that if some minority voters actually have to invest some effort in order to help the voting process maintain its integrity, that’s the equivalent of literacy tests….at least to the Times.
- “For the most part,” the states that still engage in efforts to suppress black voting rights are the states fingered under the old, old formula for pre-clearance. “For the most part!” Thus does the Times airly dismiss the fact—fact—that the citizens of some undetermined number of states have the federal government, rather than their elected representatives, deciding what their laws should be even though their state’s culture has changed from the days of “Mississippi Burning” and is no more inherently racist than Connecticut. Can one imagine the screams emanating from the Times and elsewhere if the Roberts Court had struck down the Voting Right Act with the argument that blacks in the U.S. could vote without unconstitutional restrictions “for the most part”? “For the most part” is not good enough where rights are involved, and there once was a time when American liberalism championed that. No more. Today, the fact that “for the most part” deserving white kids aren’t deprived of admission to the colleges they are qualified to attend because of the employment of racial bias (under the euphemism of “affirmative action”) is good enough to justify the continuation of the unconstitutional practice of using legal current discrimination to show penance for illegal past discrimination. What the Times is admitting is that it only believes some citizen’s rights are worth being vigilant about protecting.
The Times also mentions gerrymandering as one of those sinister anti-civil rights measures. In practice, what allowing “pre-clearance” of partisan districting has meant is that GOP legislatures’ gerrymandering is “suspect” while Democratic gerrymandering is assumed to be benign. In an op-ed in the same Times edition, University of California professor Richard Hasen writes, “Now Texas can also redistrict, freed from the constraints of Section 5, splitting Latino and black voters into different districts or shoving them all in fewer districts…” Wait—how can exactly opposite strategies both be presumptively racist? Political scientists continue to disagree whether it is better for African-American interests to have their voting strength pooled in majority black districts, allowing them to ensure the election of African-American representatives, or to spread their votes over numerous districts, forcing candidates of both parties to seek their support. Both alternatives must have racist motives, you see, because, after all, it’s Texas. In a nice, good, Democratic state, however, the exact same gerrymandering strategies are presumed to be pursued only to gain political advantage, but not because of racism. “As chief justice, Mr. Roberts [who authored the majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder] has famously written that ‘the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’ Colorblindness is fast becoming his signature issue,” Hasen writes. The Horror. Colorblindness! In the hands of a conservative Supreme Court justice, that must be racially motivated too. Maybe the Supreme Court decisions should be “pre-cleared.”
I’m sure the New York Times would approve.