Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Scalia the misunderstood

People don't read past the headline or the 10-second sound byte. The media sensationalizes these. So I posted this on FB for all the knee-jerks who were pounding on Justice Scalia for suggesting that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was an outdated, "racial entitlement". It's outdated, but it's more discrimination against a handful of states who sucked in 1964.

Here's what I posted:
This is for all my friends who have been lambasting Justice Scalia for his recent remarks about the Voting Rights Act. First of all, he was *not* talking about the whole Act, he was talking about a specific pair of sections, 4 and 5, which make extra demands of certain states and counties.

He made the unfortunate choice of words calling it an "entitlement". That was stupid. But the law is narrow, it only protects cases of race discrimination, and it treats some parts of the country differently than others, when (IMHO) the Act should apply evenly to all places Americans vote.

From the DOJ web site: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_5/about.php

"Section 5 freezes election practices or procedures in certain states until the new procedures have been subjected to review, either after an administrative review by the United States Attorney General, or after a lawsuit before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. This means that voting changes in covered jurisdictions may not be used until that review has been obtained."

The states which the law singles out are:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. None of these has changed since 1975, many since 1965. The original list was drawn up as a result of incidents in 1964.

In California it targets Kings, Merced, Monterey and Yuba counties (The DOJ took Merced off the list last year)
In New York there is the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
5 counties in Florida, but not Dade.
Most of North Carolina
Two counties in South Dakota
Two townships in Michigan (Clyde & Buena Vista)
and 10 towns in New Hampshire.

It does not protect the elderly (a big one for Florida the last two Presidential elections) or gays, or people wearing skullcaps, turbans or other marks of their religion.

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