Conservatives have ALWAYS tried to stop non-rich/non-white people from voting
Since the founding of America, Conservatives have attempted to restrict access to anyone other than rich, white, men to the very lynchpin of a free society – the right to vote.
After the American Revolution, brought to you by – like all advances in freedom – enlightened liberals – the conservatives who didn’t flee back into the bosom of their “natural lord,” the king – were stuck pondering how they would hold on to their power and privilege – in the face of the chaos of democracy.
Wealthy Southern slave owners especially didn’t want any of the rabble telling them they couldn’t own other human beings… so they set out to ensure that only other wealthy white males could participate in this “radical” experiment in self-governance liberals had thrust upon them… and disenfranchise anyone other than rich white people.
Everything from senators once being elected by state legislatures (an un-democratic policy Conservatives are STILL trying to bring back), to the Electoral College… to Jim Crow laws to Voter ID laws to ongoing voter caging tactics that Republicans engage in despite being under a standing court order not to do so, are all attempts to block people from voting.
One might think that in a democratic society, the goal would be to bring more people into the voting process… but conservatives beg to differ. Conservatives want to return us to the very system of government our founders fought a revolution to escape – namely, one where the rich run and own everything, and everyone else knows their “place.” This is where the merger of big money, Conservative ideology and a bought and paid-for Regressive government betray the very foundations of the dignity of self-governance – the right to freely participate in choosing one’s representatives… and conspire to maintain authority over certain constituencies by denying them the right to vote.
The Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation is one-for-two in legal challenges to civil rights and racial equality this term, with the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in one case bankrolled by Bradley, and in another, remanding an affirmative action case to a lower court, turning back the Bradley-backed challenge. The cases represent the latest in the Bradley Foundation’s long-term effort to dismantle the gains of the civil rights era.
In the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, which had required states with a history of legalized racial discrimination to get pre-approval from the federal government before making changes to either voting laws or procedures. One day earlier, in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Court punted on a challenge to affirmative action, sending the case back to a lower court rather than outright prohibiting the consideration of race in college admissions.
The challenges to both the Voting Rights Act and university affirmative action programs were organized by the same activist, who has acknowledged that he receives funding from the Bradley Foundation — a Milwaukee-based funder of right-wing causes that has long targeted racial equity…
With Bradley-Funded Challenge, Court Eviscerates Voting Rights Act
“Our country has changed, 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,” Roberts wrote in the Shelby County case, joined by four other conservative justices. “African- American voter turnout has come to exceed white voter turnout in five of the six States originally covered by §5 [of the Act], with a gap in the sixth State of less than one half of one percent.”
But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the four dissenting justices, said: “In the Court’s view, the very success of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy.” Invoking the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, she wrote: “‘The arc of the moral universe is long, he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion. That commitment has been disserved by today’s decision.”
“Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”
Bradley’s role in attacking voting rights is not limited to its support for Blum and his Project on Fair Representation.
In advance of the 2012 elections, Bradley was revealed as the secret funder that had bankrolled giant billboard ads, exclusively in neighborhoods of color, stating “Voter Fraud is a Felony” during a period when voter ID was on hold in Wisconsin and many were confused as to its status. It funded groups that employed James O’Keefe, whose heavily-edited undercover videos hyped voter fraud allegations and helped take down ACORN, which had helped millions of low-income people register to vote. It also funded the legal advocacy group that represented O’Keefe.
Both Bradley and Searle have funded the American Legislative Exchange Council, which promoted voter ID laws in states across the country. And in the wake of Shelby County, ALEC-inspired voter ID bills and other restrictions will likely take effect across the South. As many as eleven percent of registered voters don’t have government-issued photo ID and would be unable to vote under the laws, with those percentages even higher among communities of color and students.
Bradley also backs state-based conservative think tanks like Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute, which have advanced unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to drum-up support for restrictive laws like voter ID. And it has given millions to groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, which have long hyped voter fraud and called for more restrictive voting measures.
Shelby County Means ALEC-Inspired Voter ID Law Will Be Implemented in Multiple States
As J. Christian Adams of the Bradley-funded Heritage Foundation writes in a publication from the Bradley-funded Federalist Society: “those states that fall under Section 5 will be able to enact voter identification laws without seeking clearance from the federal government.”
Indeed, just hours after Shelby County was published, Texas’ Attorney General announced the state’s ALEC-inspired voter ID law, which could disenfranchise up to 800,000 registered voters but was blocked by a federal court under Section 5 last year, would immediately take effect; so will the state’s problematic redistricting map, which had been blocked by a federal court due to its discriminatory impact.
Mississippi voters will also be subjected to a voter ID requirement, since state officials need not wait for federal pre-clearance to implement a 2011 constitutional amendment. South Carolina’s voter ID law, which was initially stalled by the DOJ, will also take effect. A strict voter ID law passed in Virginia this year — which likely would not have been pre-cleared under Section 5 — can also be implemented without federal approval.
True the Vote, whose poll watchers have been accused of voter suppression and which was awarded a $35,000 grant from Bradley in 2011 (later rescinded because the group hadn’t received its 501(c)(3) status),stated:
“This is without doubt a step in the right direction for our Republic.”
Read the entire article at Alternet.org
Let’s not forget that ALEC is funded by the Koch Brothers.
Couple voter suppression tactics with gerrymandering of districts, where Democrats win over a million more votes, but Republicans still maintain control of the so-called “People’s House,” – and we have the Republican election strategy.
The Right Wing Supreme Court Killing the Voting Rights Act – Part of the Long History of the Conservative Assault on Self-Governance
According to Justice Roberts, the South has changed – never mind that it changed as a result of things like… um… the Voting Rights Act! The popularity of the Black Eyed Peas is enough proof for them that we’re living in a “post-racial society.” Pay no attention that 41 states in the last election cycle tried to change their laws to make it harder for minorities to vote.
Republicans know that by 2042, America will be a majority minority nation – and voter surpression is the only way for them to maintain their power and privilege. What? ACTUALLY represent the interests of the people and meet opponents fairly on the field of ideas? That’s for liberals.
Republicans are Regressives whose ignorance, fear, selfishness, self-centeredness and need for control have fueled their drive to surpress autonomy, divide the people and make the country bleed. Their destruction of the Voting Right’s Act is not only a major step back into the bad-old days of Jim Crow, but a slap in the face to the martyrs who where murdered during the tumultuous time of the Civil Rights Movement so that others might be free.
On April 18, 2013, David A. Love wrote about Scalia’s talk at the University of California Washington Center, during which “the high court judge said that the law an’embedded’ form of ‘racial preferment.’ According to Scalia’s interpretation, the Voting Rights Act was enacted as an emergency measure, but now amounts to a federal racial preference system for black people that discriminates against whites.
‘Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes,’ Scalia said. ‘Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who’s going to vote against that?'”
Love asserts that Scalia is “disingenuous and simply wrong.”
The justice also criticized attempts to expand the number of minority groups protected by the federal government, noting that child abusers are a minority, but that doesn’t mean they deserve protection.
Scalia’s comments are historically and intellectually disingenuous and simply wrong. And his words are as repugnant as the circumstances that required the Voting Rights Act in the first place.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted by Congress to outlaw discriminatory practices used to deny African-Americans their right to vote. It mirrors the language of the Fifteenth Amendment—which forbids federal and state denial of the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude”—though the laws on the books were insufficient to overcome states intent on keeping black people away from the polls, out of power and out of luck.
The Voting Rights Act outlaws literacy tests, and also gives the Attorney General the power to challenge the use of poll taxes. Passed during the height of the civil rights movement, the law and its predecessor, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, were responses to the wave of domestic terrorism in the South against activists who sought the right to vote and equal protection under the law.
The heart of the Voting Rights Act is at stake
At issue is Section 5, the heart of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states and localities, mostly in the South and Southwest, to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their election procedures.
In Shelby County v. Holder, a case currently before the Supreme Court, Shelby County, the mostly-white suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, claims Congress exceeded its constitutional authority when it reauthorized Section 5 in 2006 for 25 years. The act was reauthorized with almost unanimous bipartisan support. Signing the re-authorization, then-President Bush said the law was still needed.
“I don’t know what they’re thinking exactly,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer of Congressional re-authorization of the Act. “But it seems to me one might reasonably think this: It’s an old disease, it’s gotten a lot better, a lot better, but it’s still there.”
Yet section 5 is an abomination to conservatives who view the law as a federal intrusion on states’ rights, which, translated, means the right of states to treat their blacks the way they please. Let us not forget the inane tests given to blacks in the Jim Crow days. Black voters were asked questions as insulting as “How many bubbles in a bar of soap?” Or the local thugs—whether the police or the Klan—simply bashed in the heads of those Negroes who attempted to register to vote.
Modern-day Jim Crow
Today’s conservative war on voting rights is led by an overwhelmingly white, Southern-dominant Republican Party and their well-funded operatives, enablers and patrons such as the Koch brothers. And this war, like the Jim Crow voter suppression and intimidation techniques, is designed to block the vote of African-Americans, Latinos and others.
Voter disenfranchisement was a problem back in the day, but it is still a big issue now. The 20th Century version of Jim Crow comes in the form of voter ID laws, laws denying the vote to people with a criminal background, regulations that restrict early voting, and GOP redistricting plans that are once again segregating the former Confederacy.
“This statute is in part about our march through history to keep promises that our Constitution says for too long were unmet,” said Debo P. Adegbile, special counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has intervened in the Supreme Court case. Adegbile argued before the court that Section 5, the “pre-clearance” section, is crucial in defending the rights of voters of color in areas of the U.S. with the worst record of voter discrimination.
“Without Section 5, the very purpose of the Voting Rights Act will be demolished,” said Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and MSNBC. “It is the most detrimental blowback against our fundamental civil rights as citizens. After individuals like Martin Luther King Jr. and countless unnamed heroes of the civil rights era gave their lives for our liberties, we cannot allow this to take place.”
Arguing that racial discrimination is nonexistent
Meanwhile, conservatives also argue that the problem the Voting Rights Act was designed to address—racial discrimination— no longer exists. Chief Justice John Roberts has a long history of opposing the law, and did his best to try to weaken the law in the Reagan administration.
“Things have changed in the South,” Roberts said in 2009, claiming the Voting Rights Act “differentiates between the states in ways that are in tension with our fundamental tradition of equal sovereignty among the states.” The justice added that such distinctions “may no longer be justified by current conditions.”
Similarly, the other conservatives on the court, including Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, have expressed their opposition to the law. Justice Anthony Kennedy will provide the swing vote inShelby County.
“Some parts of the South have changed. Your county pretty much hasn’t,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the counsel representing Shelby County. “You may be the wrong party bringing this.”
Six of the nine states covered by Section 5 have passed voter ID and other voting restrictions in recent years, as opposed to only one-third of other states. With the opponents of the Voting Rights Act invoking states’ rights and the end of racism, their voter suppression tactics are the best argument in favor of maintaining the law.
A right that people died for
Meanwhile, as Americans preach to the world about the need for democracy, the rule of law and fair and open elections, we treat the franchise as something to use sparingly, for the privileged few. The U.S. Constitution mentions the right to vote five times.
This right has expanded over time beyond wealthy, white landowning men to include everyone. People were maimed and martyred in the streets while fighting for that right. Conservatives, if they have their way, will reverse the trend and take us back to the future.
The Voting Rights Act protects the minority, but it really protects us all.
Sadly, it seems that in the land of the free, you can have all the guns you want, but you’re out of luck if you want to use the ballot as a weapon instead. Shame on us, and shame on the court if they kill the Voting Rights Act.
Sadly, as David A. Love suspected, the Right Wing Activist Supreme Court DID kill the Voting Rights Act, and within AN HOUR of doing so, Republicans legislatures were re-introducing voter restrictions that the Voting Rights Act had prevented them from implementing just months prior on the grounds that they would place onerous restrictions on voters and were racially motivated.
Martyrs: Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman.
Rachel Maddow told their story on the February 27th, 2013 broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show.
MADDOW: We remember them forever as the three civil rights workers were murdered or maybe murdered in Philadelphia and Mississippi in 1964. What we remember about them particularly today is that what they were doing in Philadelphia and Mississippi, what they were risking their lives for, and what they ultimately gave their lives for specifically was voting rights in Mississippi. They were registering people to vote, registering African- Americans to vote as part of an effort called the Mississippi Freedom Summer. And they died for it.
The man who coordinated Mississippi Freedom Summer for the SNCC, for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was John Lewis. In March 1965, the year after Freedom Summer, it was John Lewis and Josiah Williams who led a group of 600 protesters on a march that started in Selma, Alabama. We also as Americans remember forever Selma.
But what we remember particularly today about Selma is what they were marching for specifically, again, was voting rights. What they were trying to do was march nonviolently this distance, from the city of Selma to the state capitol of Alabama, to the state capitol, which is Montgomery, about 50 miles away.
They were stopped that first day when they were trying to march that distance before they ever got out of Selma. Here, trying to cross the Alabama River to get out of town, to get out of Selma, the 600 peaceful protesters were met by hundreds of Alabama state police and local police.
The policemen attacked the protesters. They used tear gas on them. They beat them with billy clubs. The protesters were whipped and stomped on by police horses.
The leader of the march, John Lewis, took a billy club to the head. He very easily could have died on that bridge that day. Seventeen of the marchers were sent to the hospital. That happened on Sunday, bloody Sunday, March 7th.
Now I said that they did not get out of Selma that day when they were beaten on that bridge. But the nation was horrified. And the movement was galvanized. And two days after bloody Sunday, two days later on Tuesday, March 9th, they went back. Only this time it was not 600 people marching that route nonviolently, this time it was not 600, it was 2,500 people marching that same route. And they marched to that bridge again.
And then a week later, they took on that march again, only this time, they were protected by thousands of U.S. Army soldiers and national guardsmen acting under federal command.
And by the time that speech, that march, excuse me, ended up at the Montgomery state capitol, it was not 600 people, it was not 2,500 people, it was 25,000 people.
And that was when Martin Luther King gave his “How Long, Not Long” speech at the state capitol.
The night before that last march started, the president of the United States convened a joint session of Congress to address the crisis and to demand a very specific response. This is the night, of course, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson in his Texas drawl said live on national TV, “We shall overcome.”
(Begin Video Clip)
LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDNET: Mr. Speaker, Mr.President, members of the Congress:
I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.
At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man`s unending search for freedom. So it was at
Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama
What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.
Their cause must be our cause too. Because it`s not just Negroes, but really it`s all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.
And we shall overcome.
Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.
Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application.
And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of State law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write.
For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin.
In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath. (Watch the entire speech here)
MADDOW: And so, that was a joint address to congress a week after John Lewis was nearly beaten to death marching for voting rights in Selma. And so, a year after the freedom summer and its martyrs, too, there was LBJ proposing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and it passed, and he signed it into law.
And the Voting Rights Act did not make it illegal to keep people from voting based on their race. That was already illegal, as LBJ explained in his speech. What the Voting Rights Act did is make that right not just legal, but true.
It created a framework that could be used to force the parts of the country that weren`t upholding that law to uphold it, a framework that could be used to force states and localities to do what the law already said they should do, but that they were not doing.
The Voting Rights Act was created in full cognizance of and in direct reaction to the resistance in parts of this country, to people trying to exercise this right to vote that they had in law but in fact. And so, the Voting Rights Act banned any sort of test or hurdle that you had to surmount in order to be allowed to vote.
The Voting Rights Act in most parts of the country essentially gave you grounds on which to sue in federal court if your voting rights were infringed. That was true for most of the country.
But in parts of the country with a more horrible than usual history of denying people the right to vote based on race, in some parts of the country, special attention would be paid. Those places would no longer be allowed to keep moving the polling places or closing the polling places or moving people in and out of voting districts, or changing the registration procedures, or changing voter ID requirements, or changing election dates or anything else they could think of to undermine or thwart minority voting while just hoping that they wouldn`t get sued some day over it, but if they did, oh, well, damage is already done.
No, in states and in some counties and cities that had really earned it, those states would have to clear any of the changes they wanted to make around their elections rules with the feds. The same way those marchers ultimately got protection from soldiers and national guardsmen operating under federal command. There were some parts of the country that would have to clear the changes they wanted to make to their election laws with the Justice Department ahead of time. And if the Justice Department said OK, this will not adversely affect minority voting rights, then fine, they could go ahead.
But they had to ask first. They needed preclearance from either a panel of judges or the Justice Department to make any changes. And that`s because they earned it.
Over time, some places were added to the original list of places that got special scrutiny like this. Other places have been able to get out of the special scrutiny requirement over time after essentially showing a long stretch of good behavior.
But the principle that some parts of the country need special scrutiny to protect voting rights in those places, that is at the heart of the Voting Rights Act. Of course, it was challenged in court right away, and the Supreme Court in 1966 upheld it as an appropriate response for Congress to take given the problems that we had on this issue as a country.
Initially, the special preclearance requirement was set to expire in five years. Well, when the five years were up, Congress decided to renew it for another five years. And when those five years were up, Congress renewed it for another seven years. And when those seven years were up, Congress renewed it for 25 years — 25 years, because by then it was clear that it was an effective way to deal with this problem in our country, and we should therefore keep doing it.
When that 25-year extension was up, Congress again renewed it for another 25 years. That was 2006 when George W. Bush was president.
Congress held 21 hearings over 10 months of debate. They took in 15,000 pages of evidence on whether this was still needed. And after all of that, they voted nearly unanimously to keep doing it this way for another 25 years.
In the Senate, it actually was unanimous. It was a 98-0 vote in the
Well, today, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asserted in court that those 98 senators did not actually want to vote for the voting rights act. He says they didn`t actually mean to vote that way, and that we should not see their votes for the Voting Rights Act as votes for the voting rights act. He said that the 98-0 vote in the Senate was actually
just a sign that people see voting as some kind of racial entitlement now.
That was the phrase that he used, racial entitlement. And yes, people in the courtroom gasped when he said it. And it seemed like he likes it when that happens.
Justice Scalia said that his concern was, quote, “that this is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress, because Congress might vote for it unanimously after ten months of debate when clearly, they couldn`t possibly mean to vote for it unanimously.
He then said immediately after that, quote, “There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now” — which I don`t think he meant to sound like oh my god, black people are taking over, but that is roughly what it sounded like to me.
And sitting right next to him, the Chief Justice John Roberts was as clearly hostile today, just without the gratuitously inflammatory racial language. I don`t know if he likes the gasping as much.
The lawyer arguing for Shelby County, Alabama, that the Voting Rights Act should be dismantled said today in court I think the problem to which the Voting Rights Act was addressed is solved. He said everyone agrees it`s been very effective. Section 5 has done its work.
What happened today is that the conservative majority of the Supreme Court signaled that they are going to dismantle the Voting Rights Act. Not on the basis of evidence that it isn`t needed anymore. Congress assembled 15,000 pages of that evidence that it is still needed back in 2006. And after looking at 15,000 pages of evidence and taking 21 hearings and 10 months of the debate, they decided to vote unanimously in favor of keeping it.
The court seems like it has decided to kill this pillar of the Voting Rights Act today. Not because of some new evidence that it isn`t needed anymore. That evidence went to Congress, and congress acted accordingly.
No, the court signaled today, the conservative majority of the court signaled today that they may get rid of this pillar of civil rights, the most important federal civil rights law that we`ve got, arguably, they signaled they may get rid of it not because of evidence that it is not needed, but just because they don`t like the whole idea of it. What good is it any way?
Read the entire transcript at MSNBC.com
To sum up, liberals have always worked to bring people into the voting franchise that conservatives have always worked to block by intimidation up to and including murder, and wrapping voter suppression policies in the cloak of legality.
America being a nation whose people – in reality – long for a more egalitarian system, let’s face it – we’ve been weighed down with the anchor of conservatism – and the people have suffered. With the destruction of the Voting Right’s Act, we’re in for the long haul again.
Don’t let the (made in China) American flag lapel pins fool you. That’s just part of the costumes in the “Conservatives Love America Show.” Where Republican Regressives wrap themselves in the flag while they drag us back to the same serfs and lords system our founders fought a revolution to escape.
So the next time you hear a Republicans say they want “clean elections,” remember they just mean they want to steal them – and get away clean.
- White Nationalists Throw Hate “Business Cards” at Black Woman - November 6, 2018
- Supposed Persecuted Trump supporter Scams Cons Out of $150,000 - November 5, 2018
- In 3 A.M. Tweet, Trump Complains he’s the Real Victim of Mail Bombs - October 26, 2018
- Melania Trump Claims She’s ‘The Most Bullied Person in the World’ and the Internet Groans - October 11, 2018
- Right Wingers Help Completely False Kremlin-Made Propaganda Video Go Viral - October 9, 2018
- Historian: Mitch McConnell is the “Gravedigger of American Democracy” - October 5, 2018
- Donald Trump Tried To Trick His Elderly Father Into Changing His Will - October 4, 2018
- Survey: Trump Surpasses ‘Terrorism’ as Germans’ Greatest Fear - September 6, 2018
- Ron DeSantis Moderated Racist Facebook Group That Attacks Minorities, Parkland Survivors - August 30, 2018
- Architect: Betsy DeVos’ Ostentatious McMansion Sucks - August 8, 2018