SCOTUS neuters the Voting Rights Act.

Our nation's highest court has struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. In a 5-to-4 ruling delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court ruled that the formula used to decide what states are subject to voting law pre-clearance is unconstitutional. Under the Voting Rights Act, certain states with a history of racial discrimination in voting are required to seek and obtain approval from the Department of Justice, or a three judge panel in D.C., before making any changes to their voting laws.

In 2006, Congress overwhelmingly reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act by huge majorities in the House and the Senate, and President Bush signed the legislation within one week. Despite the fact that Congress had numerous hearings, and compiled thousands of pages of documents while reconsidering the Voting Rights Act, the Court determined that the formula Congress enacted to decide which states would be covered by preclearance was no longer constitutional.

The opinion stated that “coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress – if it is to divide the States – must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions. It cannot rely on the past.” The Court complained that Congress could have acted to update the formula, but did not.

Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion that Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King writing, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. History has proved King right. Although circumstances in Alabama have changed, serious concerns remain.” Because of today's ruling, it will be much more difficult to ensure that those “serious concerns” do not block minority voters from the polls.


ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 40 weeks ago

Do I see ALEC lurking in the background there? No legislation will get past a House filibuster and the Supremes think their fingerprints won't be all over another unleashing of the powerful just like 'Citizens United'. Democracy has few foes more formidable than the reich-wing of the current Supreme Court!

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 40 weeks ago

It is truly hard for me to imagine how you can screw up something as simple as voting. One person one vote.

Here in Canada we have to provide proof that you have the right to vote and your place of residence and you vote. I blows my mind how this can get screwed up. I admire those of you who fight for equal voting rights. Keep up the good work.

stvnpntz's picture
stvnpntz 9 years 40 weeks ago

just talked to Sen. Warrens office and they found it very interesting and helpful concerning the recent SCOTUS ruling concerning Alabama v Holder, they agree that since the court ruled that the line item veto was unconstitutional and thats basicaly what the SCOTUS just did. they also thought it might be unconstitutional seeing how they used a line item veto on the voting rights act. they are researching it further and are definetly letting SEn Warren know, they feel according to their ruling they should have sent it back to congress for reconsideration instead. if i hear more on this i will keep you all informed

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 40 weeks ago


It’s the Corporations...Stupid

The conservatives parrot Ronald Reagan “...Government IS the problem.” The liberals say “We need Government to protect the people from the corporations...”

The sad truth is, they are both right, and both wrong. We no longer HAVE a government. Our nations’s government has been drowned in Grover Norquist’s Bath tub and replaced with a multi-national corporate board of directors using the framework of our government as a front for a spring board into the stinking, stagnant, filthy pool that is NAFTA, the WTO and now the TTP. These trade “agreements” are replacing constitutions and eliminating the protection of civil liberties in countries all over the world. The Koch brothers and global billionaires have used the Tea Party to take down the government with “big government” rhetoric. “Private industry good, public service bad.” Government wasn’t the problem, but it sure as hell is now, so the self-fulfilling prophecy is now reality. Our privatized plutocratic fascist “government” is now truly the problem. By the end of the W Bush coup, plutocrats had seized enough control to allow naive liberals (of which I was 1 in 2008) to bask in the illusion of a return of power to the people, using the pro-government rhetoric to bolster their power. Government had been drowned by then tho we didn’t yet realize it. The government that we thought would protect us from the corporations in 2008 only served to further the agenda of the richest and most powerful in the world . To think we can fix the system by voting for Democrats or by running for Democratic office is to think we can miraculously heal a person in the death-throws of end stage terminal illness.

As such we must wake up and stop referring to those in power as our “Government” Sadly, there is no government anymore. If you want to see true Anarchy at work, just go observe a session of congress...absolutely NO governing going on there. In defense of the puppets on capital hill, is it anything other than naive NOT to assume that with billions of dollars at stake, anyone who takes a stand on principal risks assassination?

So, where do we go from here? If the corporate media totally ignores a movement against Monsanto 2 million strong, if the plutocrats that control the NSA are aware of every digital conversation we will we mobilize when the crackdown begins?

As spiritual leaders around the world have always said, go within. Maybe if we go within our local communities to work out solutions? We may end up back in the stone age, but we have one another, we have our hands, our gifts and talents to give. Lets keep speaking out in the form of silent protest, with our bodies, looking authorities in the eye with compassion if they come for us, unmoving, as they did in Turkey recently. Soon, the Plutocrats will decree a new “improved” much larger document to replace our constitution...the TPP. As Henry Kissinger said in the 70’s, “...illegal we can do immediately. Unconstitutional will take time”. In the mean time, I’m going to have T-shirts printed that list our basic Constitutional rights.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 9 years 40 weeks ago

Go within, I agree. Then turn outward toward your community. Cities and states can and are accomplishing a great deal in the absence of a federal government that works.

How this particular turn of events on voter laws can be undone, I don't know, but possibly through the states, many of them already working to overturn Citizens United. Maybe the functioning liberals in these states can get some changes made--although that does seem like a leap. I don't know how you can get enough people in a state like Alabama to agree to legislation that does protect minorities and the poor and the like.

G3orjOrr's picture
G3orjOrr 9 years 40 weeks ago

Based on the behavior of Red State governors since 2010, any reformulation, such as that suggested as a remedy by the wise Chief Justice Roberts, will have to broaden the scope of the law that the conservative majority struck down to include states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Just kidding -- no reformulation is going to get past this Congress. Which means that we have a potential powder keg for civil rights violence, just like the '60s. The only redress of grievances by the disenfranchised will be after the elections are a fait accompli, and it will be a trial in the kangaroo court of their choosing, that is, in the same districts where the offenses occurred. A couple rounds of injustice like that, and the Red States are likely to explode.

But hey, The Supremes have spoken (again). Let the downward spiral accelerate.

Marsh In Florida's picture
Marsh In Florida 9 years 40 weeks ago

It's hard to belive there are so many heartless "men" sitting on our Supreme Court. But hey, why should this surprise anyone? They've totally ignored or even rewritten the most important amendments to the Constitution. And keeping in step with the Senile Court, we have the Secretary of State calling America's hero a traitor, and we have a President who thinks we're the strongest nation in the world but can't understand why he can't get any cooperation from any other countries. We may be strong in dollars that keep getting spit out ad nauseum for big business, but frankly, we've lost face BIG TIME! So frankly, no matter what happens from now on will not surprise me. What does surprise me is why absolutely no one in this country is capable of putting anything into motion to challenge any of these turkeys.

Why isn't the American Bar Association not taking up the cause of the American public to challenge these atrocities that have been going on?

Back in the day, attempts by the Nixon administraction to trick the public resulted in the conviction of Spiro Agnew, John Dean, George "what's-'is-name" and the impeachment proceedings of Nixon. What we have now is so foreign to me, I'm doubtful that even the next election can fix anything. Yet, it appears to me Obama is just following in Nixon's footsteps.

I'm afraid to listen watch any of the progressive news shows for fear what horror will be revealed next. I want my country back.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 40 weeks ago

Members of the Teapublican Party have stated that it's not the 60's anymore and thus they call the Voting Rights Act a racial entitlement. Let's face it, todays decision is about keeping the billionaires representatives...... the republican party....... in power while at the same time making it much more difficult to elect the type of progressive representation that would be beneficial to the 99.9% of us. Apparently the Citizens United gun shots to our heads wasn't enough, the rich old white guys still feel the need to kick the corpse a couple times, hey you never know!

How did todays decision come about?..... a Shelby County, Alabama Attorney named Butch Ellis, "said he took issue with the fact that taxpayers in Shelby County are forced to finance hours of extra staff work and legal fees to obtain federal approval for voting changes.

"Edward Blum of the Conservative Enterprise Institute agreed to argue the case on behalf of Shelby County before The Supreme Court."

"Shelby County includes communities that rank among the most affluent in the United States. Many residents work in the areas growing biomedical, aeronautical and other scientific research industries." from Janell Ross article in Huffington Post.

I wonder if it's possible to cut off Federal money going to these Shelby County research industries?

Alabama getaway,getaway.

The five regressives on the Supreme Court need to be immediately banished from Athens forever.

akunard's picture
akunard 9 years 40 weeks ago


If we did it your way the old Chicago slogan "Vote early and often" would not work and the dems would shrink. As in some counties in Ohio 110% of registered voters all voted for Barry.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 40 weeks ago

sandlewould ~ Beautifully said! I can't add much to it--except this:

Quote sandlewould:So, where do we go from here? If the corporate media totally ignores a movement against Monsanto 2 million strong, if the plutocrats that control the NSA are aware of every digital conversation we will we mobilize when the crackdown begins?

One very interesting historical fact: No successful revolution in the history of the world ever relied on, or, even used digital communication of any kind. Food for thought. Power to the People! Right On!!

Time to think outside the box, People! Public assemblies, speakeasies, face to face, snail mail, secret codes and smoke signals... Picture yourself in the world 40 years ago and all the efforts of the NSA, FBI, CIA, ATF, DEA, DOD, and any other belligerent corporate surveillance agency are null and void. Back to the Future everyone!

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 40 weeks ago

I couldn't agree more...that was the point Iwas trying to make, than ks for polishing it for me!

Mike-C's picture
Mike-C 9 years 40 weeks ago

It appears quite obvious to me and probably to most people - it's all about rigging elections to produce the desired outcome by certain people. The Repugs know that the "hanging chad" thing won't work again -- way too obvious now. They were totally aghast when Obama and other Dems were re-elected last year, so they're on the rampage now. I believe that victory for the Dems can happen again if their supporters turn out in the same huge numbers in the next election - the sheer high numbers can swamp the Repug boat again.

Idaglia's picture
Idaglia 9 years 40 weeks ago

Our next step is indeed to approaching congress to amend the Bill of Rights to dictate without prejudice: One person one vote.

. . . thank you for your support!

PLSzymeczek's picture
PLSzymeczek 9 years 40 weeks ago

The solution is to make Section 5 apply to all States and Territories.

Vegasman56 9 years 40 weeks ago

I believe that this is a March backwards in time that will bring back Jim Crow laws. This type of inequality does not do our country any good and makes us look like we are barbarians, now we can add another America's exceptionalism to the list. This will make the right wing conservative radio talk shows hosts along with SCOTUS for they can put a star in their books of the achievements, for removing We the People of the United States to We the Privilege of United States, good going guys

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 40 weeks ago

I think just impeaching (not convicting) Scalia would set the court straight. His statement that the congress is listening to the people and therefore SCOTUS can strike down any law it wants seems impeachable to me.

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