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writing for godot

The Death of the Voting Rights Act

Written by David Starr   
Monday, 12 July 2021 04:21

In a 6-3 decision, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court of the United States killed off what little that was remaining of the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was put into law in 1965 under then-U.S. president Lyndon Johnson. In the years that followed, the act was a fire wall against denying people of color–notably African Americans–the right to vote. It was particularly useful in the U.S. southern states, where, given the racist history, there was rampant discrimination.

It's evident that the discrimination continues, albeit, without the usual racist epithets among the Republican leadership. It is a political liability nowadays to overtly espouse white supremacy myths. Donald Trump, however, came close by encouraging white supremacists to, "stand down and stand by."  It culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, where among the rioters there were racists shouting epithets.

For Republican governors and state legislatures in the U.S., especially in the south, there is the practice of systemic racism and partisan practices using a variety of tactics. The Voting Rights Alliance mentioned 61. Among them: Strict voter I.D. laws; barriers to assistance by family members or others for voters; deceptive practices like distributing flyers with disinformation or robocalls for the same purpose; voter intimidation such as impersonating law enforcement personnel or immigration officers; gerrymandering where a district is reconfigured to give one side an advantage in vote totals; no early voting; early voting cuts; polling place relocations; polling place reductions; inadequate number of functioning machines, optical scanners or electronic polling books; and long lines.

The 6-3 ruling made it possible for states that practice voter suppression to be immune from challenges that were contained in the Voting Rights Act. The ruling was in reference to Arizona's tactics to prevent people of color from voting. The majority of the court concluded that any challenges to the new rules were not acceptable since there was no proof that the rules would intentionally discriminate against people of color for voting. LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, was on national television to say that "This is an outrageous and disappointing decision. We must have the For the People Act  and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act passed into law." (John Wojcik, People's World, 06/01/2021.)

Lawyers for the Arizona legislature claimed that to protect the vote there had to be the stopping of "third-party ballot harvesting." This really comes down to stopping people of color from campaigning for their preferred candidates and campaigning for people to actually cast votes for their preferred candidates. (Wojcik, People's World, 06/01/2021.)  The Supreme Court apparently has no problem with this, but see ballot harvesting as a "problem." And yet, when it comes to corporations and the wealthy donating secret funds to politicians based on the Citizens' United decision in 2013, the conservative judges on the Supreme Court look the other way.

There was an analysis (10/28/2020) from the Center of Public Integrity published in The Moment newsletter which put across an important point that the demographics are changing in the United States with whites no longer being a majority within a few decades. The Republicans know that this is a potential disadvantage for them since most people of color vote Democrat. And, thus, another reason for voter suppression. The analysis also mentions the 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia where participants chanted, "You will not replace us!" This slogan characterizes the white supremacist myth that whites are threatened by extinction from an increase in the nonwhite population which is controlled and manipulated by Jews. It shows how white supremacists are showing their true colors. The dog whistles and code words to hide their true intentions are still there, but sometimes they give themselves away as with that slogan.

There are still avenues open to challenge the Supreme Court's ruling. Two ways is to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. These acts could be new fire walls to put in place of the gutted Voting Rights Act. They could pass easily in the House, but the Senate is another matter where Democrats have a razor-thin lead in seats. The Republicans would probably use the filibuster to try and hold off passage. Another avenue is to expand the Supreme Court to include liberal-minded judges to oppose the abuses of the conservatives. It may lead to being partisan, but that already exists within the Supreme Court as the conservatives are usually partisan.

It goes without saying that the degree of democracy in the U.S. is in danger, as the 6-3 ruling opening the way for further voter suppression proves. your social media marketing partner
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