The Voting Rights Act and SCOTUS

I was very disturbed today by the reported attitude of the “conservative” wing of the SCOTUS during the hearing on removing the section of the Voting Rights Act that requires certain places to get approval from the Justice Department before changing voting procedures. It was reauthorized in 2006 with huge majorities.

What I don’t understand is why conservatives, who claim to be liberty-loving, don’t want voting liberty. It is Republicans that tried repeatedly to suppress the votes of people in 2012, and gerrymandered where they could in 2010.

I think that the VRA is needed and still valid. In particular, the states and other locations that are prohibited from changing their voting processes have histories of egregious voting suppression violations. Shelby County today said they have improved. But why do they want to remove the restriction on them?

There is still widespread racial bias in the south, and in the country as a whole. Several studies in 2012 showed that anti-black bias in 50% or more of the population. Even if Shelby County prevails, the Justice Department can still bring suit to head off bad practices. But I see no reason to remove the preemptive protections.

Just for registering voters, blacks and whites were beaten and killed in the south. A white Episcopal seminarian was murdered by a shotgun-wielding racist, who was aiming at an unarmed 17-year old girl (and who also shot a Catholic priest in the back, and who was acquitted by an all-white jury). Children were murdered just because they were black. People were beaten, gassed, and attacked just because they were black, or wanted to go to school, or drink from water fountains, or shop in stores.

The inhuman and inhumane treatment of our black citizens demands that every possible protection of law be kept in place to ensure that their rights, including the right to vote, are not restricted.

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