Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And The Supremes Sing, But Not of Gerrymandering or Voter IDs

The Supreme Court of the United States has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.  The 5-4 decision followed the usual lines, the conservative judges voting for the strike-down.  Justice Ginsburg was in deep disagreement:

In summarizing her dissent from the bench, an unusual move and a sign of deep disagreement, Justice Ginsburg called on the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make a different point.
“The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act foresaw progress, even in Alabama,” she said. “'The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.”
“That commitment,” she said, “has been disserved by today’s decision.”
She said the focus of the Voting Rights Act had properly changed from “first-generation barriers to ballot access” to “second-generation barriers” like racial gerrymandering and laws requiring at-large voting in places with a sizable black minority. She said Section 5 had been effective in thwarting such efforts.

The impetus for attempts to restrict voting by people of color may now be more political than purely racist.  The Republicans prefer minorities not to vote because that vote is so predominantly for the Democrats, and obligatory IDs etc. serve to limit the numbers of not only minority voters but of poor voters in general.