Roberts makes sure the fix is in
by Kevin Foley
Columnist
July 04, 2013 10:40 PM | 1101 views | 5 5 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At his confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts promised to call balls and strikes.

As home plate umpire last week, Roberts enlarged the strike zone for Republicans. Now GOP governors, secretaries of state and legislatures are free to further discriminate against anyone unlikely to vote their way.

Like the devastating Citizens United ruling that permits anonymous right wing billionaires to flood election campaigns with unlimited cash, the Voting Rights Act decision further rigs balloting in favor of Republicans.

Section Four of the VRA, which protected voters in jurisdictions like Georgia with long histories of discriminatory practices, was ruled unconstitutional even though it was the law of the land and reauthorized in 2006 by Republicans and Democrats.

“Our country has changed,” wrote Roberts for the majority, “and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

The current conditions are as abysmal as those in 1965, when the VRA was enacted. In many states where the Republicans enjoy a majority, including most of those regulated by Section Four, GOP lawmakers and officials went out of their way to make voting difficult if not impossible for Democrats and most especially minorities.

“Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania, done,” crowed Republican Pennsylvania Secretary of State Mike Turzai last year in a rare display of conservative truth-telling.

Now, thanks to the Section Four decision, Republicans have free rein to double and triple their efforts by imposing all manner of obstacles with no federal protections and no recourse.

Rep. John Lewis, who had his skull fractured by white Alabama police officers in 1965 while peacefully marching for voting rights, said the Supreme Court had “put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act.”

“These men that voted to strip the Voting Rights Act of its power, they never stood in unmovable lines, they never had to pass a so-called literacy test,” Lewis said in an interview. “It took us almost 100 years to get where we are today. So will it take another 100 years to fix it, to change it?”

Naturally, the state’s rights crowd is applauding the decision, pretending that just 50 years ago African-Americans weren’t threatened with violence on Election Day; that Jim Crow never happened; that three young men registering black voters weren’t murdered in Mississippi.

In 2012, voter suppression was less sinister, less lethal, but no less toxic. It took me five minutes to vote in conservative, mostly white Cobb County. Voters in minority districts waited for hours to vote in places like Florida, where Republican officials did their best to suppress voting.

The blinding flash of the obvious might have been lost on Roberts, but not Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who noted in her dissenting opinion, “The court errs egregiously by overriding Congress’s decision.”

Ginsberg understands Republicans have resorted to manipulating the vote knowing they can’t win national elections otherwise.

So we can expect more cynical “proof of citizenship” requirements, more bogus photo ID hurdles, fewer voting machines in districts likely to vote Democratic, and whatever else Republicans can dream up.

With the fix in, the only recourse now for Democrats is to mobilize and turn out in force for the 2014 midterms to oust Republicans wherever they’ve overplayed their hand; Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and even Texas could see big Democratic gains.

With enough Democrats in the office, the next task will be to update the VRA to make sure it can’t be tampered with in the future, by Republicans or their conservative umpires on the bench.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments
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Nettie Helen Stemm
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July 10, 2013
Kevin, try as I might I could not resist commenting on your silly diatribe about the recent action by the Supreme Court, in declaring a portion of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional. If you were honest with yourself, you would admit they were right in doing so.



Your flawed logic in going from “long lines at the polls” to “GOP voter suppression” was priceless, if not laughable. Just how did the GOP suppress voters?



To you, or anyone else who touts long lines as voter suppression, I have this to say. A lot of good men, (two of them my brothers on an island called Iwo Jima, March 2, 1945) gave all the time they had in the world in order to give you the right to stand in that line and vote. I hardly think that your inconvenience stacks up to that sacrifice,. Nor does it equate to anyone’s effort to keep you from voting.



Another of the columnists for this paper, Pete Borden, called the turn correctly as far as voter ID is concerned. With all the everyday activities that require ID, trying to say that requiring one to vote is somehow suppressing someone's right to vote, is not only fallacious, it is downright insulting to the intelligence of the average reader.



To be frank, my friend, your column reads like it was written by somebody who had just awakened from a 40 year coma, or a drug induced trance of equal duration. Let me update you. “Jim Crow” laws are things of the past. Orval Faubus is dead and buried, as is George Wallace. The once proud Ku Klux Klan, which swept across the country like a mighty wind, is now little more than a slight breeze. The poll tax has been abolished since the mid 1960's as have other obstructions keeping legal citizens from voting.



Your claim that voter ID laws are designed to suppress votes by people who would normally vote Democratic is correct, but the ones it is designed to deny the vote to are the illegal immigrants who should not vote, as well as the dead people who have a habit of showing up at the polls and those who would vote more than once. “Vote early and often”, is what they are fond of saying in the President’s city of Chicago.



Can you cite one verifiable case of legitimate voter suppression? Voter suppression would be a case of when a registered voter was told they could not vote because they might vote the wrong way, or because they did not have a valid ID.



Sans a volume of such verifiable instances, your argument is full of holes.

CobbCoGuy
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July 09, 2013
@KF

Go back to your source for this statement:

"Voters in minority districts waited for hours to vote in places like Florida, where Republican officials did their best to suppress voting."

...and let us know if there is any discussion of voter TURNOUT.
Doc Hollidawg
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July 08, 2013


"In 2012, voter suppression was less sinister, less lethal, but no less toxic. It took me five minutes to vote in conservative, mostly white Cobb County. Voters in minority districts waited for hours to vote in places like Florida, where Republican officials did their best to suppress voting."

Interesting. It took my wife and I just over 90 minutes to vote in 2012....in conservative, mostly white Cobb County.

Guess that makes your voter intimdation theory bunk. Or makes you a liar. Which is it?
Devlin Adams
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July 05, 2013
Foley, I have a few questions for you.

1. When was the last time you voted in a Federal election?

2. What section of the Constitution sets out the guidelines for Federal elections?

3. What section of the Constitution addresses the right to vote in Federal elections?

4. What section of the Constitution empowers the Federal government to enact laws about state elections?

5. What section of the Constitution empowers the Federal government to pass discriminatory laws treating states differently?



The answers are simple. You have never voted in a Federal election because there is no such thing. There are no mentions of Federal elections, or the right to vote in them anywhere in the Constitution.

There are no sections in the Constitutions dealing with Federal interference in state elections, or empowering the government to pass discriminatory laws.

That is why that part of the VRA

was struck down. It was unconstitutional!

What part of that can you not get you head around?



Some Guy
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July 10, 2013
What about the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
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