Sometimes there are sides and you gotta pick which one you’re on

01 Mar 2013 11:10 am
Posted by: Donna

In case you missed it, the Supreme Court heard arguments on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act today. That section requires certain jurisdictions to have changes to their election laws pre-cleared by the US Department of Justice, on account of how said jurisdictions have demonstrated a history of passing laws that deny certain citizens their right to vote.

The case for making certain jurisdictions have their voting laws scrutinized by the Federal government is best made here:

Congress had found that case-by-case litigation was inadequate to combat wide-spread and persistent discrimination in voting, because of the inordinate amount of time and energy required to overcome the obstructionist tactics invariably encountered in these lawsuits. After enduring nearly a century of systematic resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment, Congress might well decide to shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.

In other words, people who are eligible to vote should be able to do so, and they shouldn’t have to wait until after they’ve been denied that right to try (in vain usually) to overturn the law that denied their rights. And that is the whole point of overturning Section 5 to the people who think certain other people are unworthy of voting.

Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there’s a good reason for it.

That’s the — that’s the concern that those of us who — who have some questions about this statute have. It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now. And even the Virginia Senators, they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.

Oh, so there’s an example of that “legislating from the bench” we’ve been warned about. Scalia’s use of the word “entitlement” reads as deliberate – a conflation of voting with “handouts” like food stamps and Medicaid. Scalia moved beyond the standard right wing complaint that working class people, minorities, and women are voting themselves goodies. He declared voting itself to be an unearned handout. Charles Pierce of the Esquire Politics blog called it “language that guarantees he will never have to pay for a drink at a Federalist Society function again in his life”

Speaking of legislating: Efforts to restrict voting in Arizona, which happens to be one of the jurisdictions covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act on account of this state’s history with voter suppression, are well underway this year.

The bill would impose a Class 5 felony on anyone who returns another voter’s ballot who is not a family member or lives in the same household as the voter. A Class 5 is punishable by probation to 2/1 years in prison.

Provine, like others opposed to the bill, said the key is better voter education.

But Republican lawmakers noted that voters have a responsibility to educate themselves.

Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, eyed copies of the 4,000 ballots that Parraz said his group dropped off at the polls last November and said it confirmed for her the need to tighten voting rules.

Seeing the box of ballots, she said, “I know voter fraud is real.”

That accusation is absurd and utterly devoid of evidence. Idiotic urban legends aside, no one has any proof that widespread voter fraud is happening anywhere. It’s a manufactured excuse to disenfranchise undesirable voters in an assault on democracy. And there’s a Supreme Court justice calling voting a “racial entitlement” when certain people are doing it.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I have no tolerance for the “both sides are guilty” false equivalence. It’s not only untrue, since Republicans are causing most the problems in politics today, but it treats every dispute as if it’s reasonable people disagreeing over marginal tax rates or a zoning ordinance. But some disputes aren’t like that. They won’t be solved through calmly discussing it, followed by collaboration and compromise. Sometimes the positions are fundamentally irreconcilable and people’s basic human and civil rights are at stake. At those times you have to pick a side. In this case, one side wants people to vote and the other side doesn’t. Which side are you on?

10 Comments

  1. Comment by Mike Slater on March 1, 2013 7:15 pm

    I have no problem with people voting but I don’t understand why the left has such a problem with showing I.D. before one votes.

  2. Comment by Phoenix Justice on March 2, 2013 6:26 am

    @Mike,

    When voting by mail, the only ID required is a signature. Plus, when you require specific photo identification, you impose a defacto poll tax due to the costs of procuring one due to documentation required to get said identification.

    Oh and then I guess you have no issue with universal background checks for all firearm purchases, including private sales, right?

  3. Comment by Timmys Cat on March 2, 2013 2:24 pm

    Seeing the box of ballots, she said, “I know voter fraud is real.”

    I know Az Republican fear of recall elections and voter intiatives is real. If voter fraud is so rampant, then fire Helen Purcell and Ken Bennett (please) for incompetence and get someone else. The existing system allows voters ways around GOP roadblocks. That is their true concern, not virtually nonexistent fraud.

    unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution

    Very scary stuff. So a Supreme Court Justice is implying that if the states keep reauthorizing a law that he disagrees with, it is up to the court to find a way to block it. What’s next? The court signaling to states which laws to bring before it?

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that all this Republican effort to “protect” the vote didn’t really reach a fever pitch until a Democratic black man, with a huge block of minority voters behind him, was elected President.

    PJ beat me to it. Right wing parrots are sure quiet about restrictions on voting, yet howl righteously when there is talk of restricting firearms.

  4. Comment by Mike Slater on March 2, 2013 4:46 pm

    Timmys Cat, you seem to forget he’s only half black.

    Phoenix Justice, I have no problem with background checks. I’ve had a CCW for 15 years and have had many background checks and been fingerprinted many times.

    The only thing I object to is a background check if selling to a family member.

    As far as ID for voting one has to show ID for almost anything such as buying a home, renting a movie etc. It’s not that much of an inconvenience.

    The only ones that have a problem with it are Democrats.

  5. Comment by eric on March 2, 2013 6:59 pm

    Voter ID is not a problem unless you are too poor to drive…or too old. Are you willing to go out to these people and get them the IDs? ANything absent of that disenfranchises someone. How many voter fraud cases have there been in the last decade? Less than 20…and those are generallt GOP voting from their two homes.

  6. Comment by Phoenix Justice on March 3, 2013 5:47 pm

    @Mike,

    Showing identification to purchase a home, to rent a movie (if you go through Netflix you don’t have to), etc are all mandated by private enterprises, not the government. Its a stupid argument and one the right loves to use, which actually says a lot about the right.

    And why should family members be exempted from a universal background check?

  7. Comment by Timmys Cat on March 3, 2013 7:14 pm

    Stupid and stupid arguments are what troll does best.

  8. Comment by Mike Slater on March 4, 2013 4:02 pm

    So Phoenix Justice, are you saying the FHA is not the government?

    When I got my concealed carry permit I had to show photo ID. Is that not government?

    So I guess what you and eric are saying is only the poor and the old can’t get photo Id. Must be because they vote Democrat.

    Would you have a problem with ID if the poor and old voted Republican?

  9. Comment by Donna on March 4, 2013 4:27 pm

    Mike, you act like voter ID isn’t already the law here. It has been, for over a decade. The thing is, though, that most people are no longer showing IDs to poll workers since they’re voting by mail (with their signatures verified against ID records). So the latest attempts to suppress the vote are directed at absentee ballots. Try to keep up.

  10. Comment by Timmys Cat on March 5, 2013 12:37 pm

    Gunna party like it’s
    nineteen
    ninety
    nine!

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a comment