Ensuring that anyone is entitled to any special right or privilege enjoyed by the majority of others does nothing to take any right or privilege from anyone else. Well, let me amend that a bit. It does prevent someone from taking those rights away from others. However those of us who believe in fair play, equal rights for all and the “American Way” have no problems denying the cheap thrills of those who would harm others simply because they are of a different race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation.
The Supreme Court heard today a challenge to Title 5 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
What they are challenging is this portion of Title 5:
“(1) investigate allegations in writing under oath or affirmation that certain citizens of the United States are being deprived of their right to vote and have that vote counted by reason of their color, race, religion, or national origin; which writing, under oath or affirmation, shall set forth the facts upon which such belief or beliefs are based”
Specifically this provision is designed to keep states from establishing anything in voting law or procedures that would unduly prevent minorities from exercising their right to vote. Their argument is essentially “Hey, racism is dead so stay out of our business and trust us not to do it again.”
Despite the allegations of voter suppression in states covered and not covered by Title 5 to establish voter ID, remove voting machines from predominately minority districts, caging, etc. They’re arguing that not only are they not discriminating against anyone’s right to vote, to have such a law gives these “minorities” more than what anyone else has. Its puts them above the “majority.”
Ultra conservative “Italian” Justice Antonin Scalia went so far as to say today that the key provision of the Act leads to “a perpetuation of racial entitlement.” http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/02/27/4648931/scalia-on-voting-rights-act-perpetuation.html So what he is saying is that guaranteeing that a minority race isn’t infringed upon sets them apart from everyone else and that isn’t fair. As I hinted to above, it’s certainly not fair to those who want to infringe on their rights.
This country was founded on the principle that “All men are created equal” although at the time, all men did not have equal rights and certainly not women. As our country matured, we as a nation agreed that the Constitution and Federal Law needed to ensure that “all were equal” as the Constitution was amended to guarantee rights not be kept away from the “other” people as well as laws to back it up. We had two hundred years of amendments and laws guaranteeing equal rights and freedom from discrimination for women and minorities. In recent years, we started tackling rights of those of a different sexual orientation or religion.
If we are to take our founders at their word and “All men (and women) are created equal” we cannot allow any sets of laws to exist that detracts anyone from exercising a right enjoyed by the majority of others simply because they are of a different, sex, race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, or political view. To do so is codifying discrimination. That isn’t what we were told being America is all about.
Many pundits are convinced that the Supreme Court will rule Title 5 unconstitutional. I tend to believe they will too. Sadly, since the United States Constitution actually doesn’t guarantee a citizen the absolute right to vote, it is conceivable that it will be overturned. Voting rights were essentially given to the individual states.
In light of the ongoing activities of the Republican Party working under the auspices of ALEC and the Koch brothers to disenfranchise those voters who don’t recognize that corporations are people and are more equal than the rest of us, we could be in very real danger here.
Should the Supreme Court overturn Title 5 in a 5 to 4 decision, you know Congress will do nothing to stop it unless you all get active, but that may be too late for 2014. I posted earlier about the Electoral College and the fact there is no absolute right to vote enshrined in our constitution. Without such a guarantee, any federal law designed to prevent voter discrimination has no constitutional backing. We need such an amendment to guarantee all American Citizens the right to vote on equal terms as everyone else. We cannot allow individual states the right to disenfranchise voters especially for national elections.
And besides, no matter your race, creed, religion, etc, everyone at one time or another, can be considered a minority and thus the target of discrimination by those of the majority. Take the rights away from one, codify that into law, you end up making it lawful to do it to all.
A good editorial about this situation from the Christian Science Monitor