Yesterday, the entirety of American society positively lit up like a Christmas tree with the news that the Supreme Court o the United States had made the decision to strike down both the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8. This is of course absolutely fantastic news but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Supreme Court, just the day before, gutted the Voting Rights Act like a dead catfish.
Specifically SCOTUS shut down Section Four of the Act, which is the provision of the law that calls out the areas of the country that are required to have the federal government rubber stamp any changes made to their voting laws. In particular, any state attempting to institute any “test or device” that would disqualify them from voting, such as a literacy test, falls under the purview of the Act, which was designed to put an end to the Jim Crow laws of the time. The Supreme Court (well, the five Justices that decided in favor of declaring Section Four unconstitutional) decided that the law as it stands today is too restrictive of states’ rights and that, while Congress is free to re-institute Section Four by revising it to meet current conditions, things have improved enough in this country that Section Four is just not needed any more.
Essentially what SCOTUS is saying is that we don’t need to worry about state or local officials pushing through laws designed to exclude people based on the color of their skin. Apparently racism is over in the United States; someone should tell the KKK as I’m sure they’ll be surprised. Just as surprised will be any American citizen that’s routinely stopped by the cops in border states like Arizona and New Mexico just because they’re Latino.
The Supreme Court seems completely oblivious of the fact that racism and prejudice is still a real thing in the United States and that protections need to be put in place to ensure that people of all colors will be able to exercise their right to vote. It’s especially ironic that the biggest critic of the Voting Rights Act is Justice Clarence Thomas, the one and only black Supreme Court Justice. Thomas has been a virulent opponent of the Act for quite a few years and has argued for the dismantling of not just Section 4 but the whole damn thing, claiming that compliance with the Act is “just too much of a burden” to place on a state and local level.
Let that sink in. A black guy thinks that it’s too burdensome to safeguard against racism in the United States. I’d expect this kind of shit from Scalia, but not from a brother. What the hell, man?