Goldwater Institute says racism is over, if you want it

17 Jun 2013 01:48 pm
Posted by: Donna

Goldwater Institute lawyer Nick Dranias was channeling Justice Scalia in his appearance on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show (Ari Melber was subbing for Melissa) Sunday morning. It was a great show so if you missed it I recommend watching all the segments at the link in addition to the three I’ve provided.

In this one you can see Dranias whining about the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action:

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Here’s more whining about states rights:

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This one’s fun to watch for the side-eye Dranias is getting from the rest of the panel:

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Yeah, you can see how Scalia’s shocking remarks about “racial entitlement” didn’t come out of a vacuum. Voting rights got a shot in the arm with today’s SCOTUS 7-2 decision striking down Prop 200, Arizona’s 2004 law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. But the other pending decision, on Section 5 of the VRA, is not looking so hopeful. Arizona conservatives and the Goldwater Institute have been gunning for it for years. From a GI press release in 2009:

Phoenix–The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus brief yesterday with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. The brief challenges the Voting Rights Act “preclearance” requirement under the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and the 10th Amendment’s guarantee of federalism.

Preclearance requires Arizona and a handful of other states to seek permission from the federal government for legislative redistricting. To guarantee federal approval, states have often resorted to gerrymandering–drawing oddly-shaped voting districts to pull minorities from some locations and pack them into others. Preclearance has thereby pervasively promoted race consciousness and minority political segregation as a means of enforcing equal voting rights–just as affirmative action enforces race-consciousness purportedly as a means of remedying racism.

“Now that active state-sponsored racial discrimination has obviously waned, preclearance only encases politics in the very racial and ethnic divisions it was designed to prevent,” said Nick Dranias, counsel of record and Director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Constitutional Government.

When the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965, preclearance may have been the only feasible means by which equal voting rights could be enforced. But the days of the literacy test are long over. Minority political progress is no longer “modest and spotty,” as asserted by the Court nearly 30 years ago in City of Rome v. U. S. Pretending otherwise is not the product of what the Supreme Court called “practical experience” when it first upheld preclearance nearly 50 years ago in South Carolina v. Katzenbach.

I honestly think they spout this stuff as much in an effort to reassure themselves they’re not defending racist policies as to convince everyone else of that.


  1. Comment by Suzanne on June 17, 2013 5:11 pm

    This column reminded me of a book review I recently read in the New York Times. The book is ‘The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back From Liberals’ by Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin.
    The review says, in part, that ““every single federal judge” appointed by the two Presidents Bush “was either a member or approved by members of the society,” including four Supreme Court justices: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The Federalist Society model has been so successful that other organizations have adopted it — societies named after Benjamin Rush, Alexander Hamilton and Adam Smith have been started to promote conservative and free market ideas in medical education, foreign policy and business school.
    How was the society able to achieve this remarkable feat? According to the authors, by persuading the competing factions of the modern conservative movement to set aside their ideological differences and to converge around a constitutional methodology known as “originalism” — the idea that judges should interpret the Constitution as understood by its framers and ratifiers.” To end the article Jeffery Rosen says, “First, the various strands of legal liberalism — civil libertarians, Great Society liberals, neoprogressive technocrats, economic populists and advocates of equal rights on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation — would do well to set aside their ideological differences and converge around a common approach to constitutional interpretation that citizens can understand. And second, if liberals want to take the courts back from conservatives, they have to recognize that ideas — and judicial appointments — matter.” On that, I do agree!

  2. Comment by Elizbeth on June 17, 2013 7:50 pm

    Benjamin Rush was a proto Socialist who believed in free education, opposed slavery and was basically a radical. They cannot even get their founding fathers straight.

  3. Comment by Suzanne on June 18, 2013 11:38 am

    Elizabeth, I agree.

  4. Comment by Mike Slater on June 18, 2013 3:18 pm

    The SCOTUS ruling left open some room for the State of Arizona.

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