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Author Topic: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated  (Read 1478 times)

Altair

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Re: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2013, 08:44:34 am »
Quote from: RandallS;113873
I can't find anything actually reporting Scalia as having said that. However he apparently did call Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "perpetuation of racial entitlement" during oral arguments.


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sailor

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Re: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2013, 02:52:39 pm »
Quote from: Altair;113702
Exactly. Which is why today's SCOTUS decision effectively guts the law.

As for Sailor's claim that all the voting laws will be the same in all the states across the country, I don't know where that came from, but he seems to have dropped it.

 
Nope. That was the whole point of the case.  All the states have to play by the same set of rules - there are no more areas that need special rules to make changes to their voting places, voting rules, etc.

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Re: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2013, 03:16:05 pm »
Quote from: sailor;113918
Nope. That was the whole point of the case.  All the states have to play by the same set of rules - there are no more areas that need special rules to make changes to their voting places, voting rules, etc.


OK, thanks for the clarification. I was confused by this when you wrote:

Quote

so now the laws for New York and Texas are the same as New Hampshire.


If I understand you correctly now, what you mean is that whatever the state's voting laws (which may vary), there are no special requirements targeting particular states that they have to meet in formulating those voting laws.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
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Aster Breo

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Re: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2013, 05:23:57 pm »
Quote from: sailor;113918
Nope. That was the whole point of the case.  All the states have to play by the same set of rules - there are no more areas that need special rules to make changes to their voting places, voting rules, etc.

 
I might be misunderstanding what you're saying, but I don't think this is exactly correct.

If you're referring to Section 2, in which Congress set forth a general prohibition on practices that would restrict the right to vote, then yes.  All jurisdictions must follow that general guideline:

Quote
SEC. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.

(Source: ourdocuments.gov)

As an aside, this section is very similar to Amendment 15 to the Constitution:

Quote
AMENDMENT XV
Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

(Source: archives.gov)

However, the Voting Rights Act does not include specific "rules" for voting procedures.  What it *does* have is Sections 4 and 5.  

Section 4 sets out the formula that determines which state and local jurisdictions are subject to "pre-clearance".  It was designed to ensure that jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting practices could not return to those practices (or practices that had the same discriminatory effect).

Section 5 is the requirement that jurisdictions identified by the formula in Section 4 apply for and receive from the Justice Department "pre-clearance" before instituting any changes to their voting procedures.   The pre-clearance requirement meant jurisdictions had to show that the proposed "qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color..."

In Tuesday's ruling, the Court struck down ONLY Section 4 as unconstitutional, and left Section 5 in place.  Basically, they said the formula as currently written is out of date and does not reflect current societal conditions.  So all of the states and localities that were required to seek pre-clearance are no longer required to do that.  They can just make any changes they want to.

The Court suggested that Congress pass a new formula.  If Congress manages to do that, and if the new formula identifies any jurisdictions that use discriminatory practices to restrict voting, then those jurisdictions would be required to obtain pre-clearance for any changes in their voting procedures.

So, while the VRA does not specify the voting procedures jurisdictions must use, it does ensure that all jurisdictions meet a standard of non-discrimination.

Until Congress passes a new formula, jurisdictions can institute any changes they want.  Those changes can be challenged in court, but standing rules will dictate that someone must have been harmed by the new rules -- that is, denied their right to vote or had their right restricted.  In addition, legal challenges take time, sometimes years, depending on how high the case goes.  While the case is working its way through the courts, the people affected by the discriminatory procedures continue to have their voting rights restricted.  And the outcomes of elections could be radically different from what they would be in the absence of discriminatory practices.

And several states have already announced changes, including voter ID requirements and redistricting plans, that are designed to restrict the number of minority voters and sway the outcomes of as many elections as possible.

In a nutshell: the VRA isn't really about establishing the same set of rules for all jurisdictions; it's about ensuring that the (varying) rules used by all jurisdictions are free from discrimination.

~ Aster

P.S.  Some useful resources on this topic:
ourdocuments.gov: Transcript of Voting Rights Act (1965)
SCOTUSblog: Opinion Recap
SCOTUSblog: Shelby County Decision in Plain English
US Department of Justice: Voting Rights Act of 1965
CivilRights.org: Voting Rights Act
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

sailor

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Re: SCOTUS: Crucial Provision of the Voting Rights Act Invalidated
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2013, 08:54:42 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;113942
I might be misunderstanding what you're saying, but I don't think this is exactly correct.

If you're referring to Section 2, in which Congress set forth a general prohibition on practices that would restrict the right to vote, then yes.  All jurisdictions must follow that general guideline:



Yes, you are misunderstanding.  

Section 2 still applies.  

The case only removed the pre-clearance requirement since things Have changed since 1965.  Now, rather than some places asking "mother may I", all parts of the US follow the same rules - which is section 2 rather than some having special rules (pre-clearance).

If somebody doesn't like a change in the voting laws they still have the right to sue to have to stopped by the courts. So yes, some people might have their right to vote curtailed, well, for a day or so before they can get an injunction.  Considering that voting changes have to be done weeks or months in advance a 24 to 48 curtailment when there is no voting taking place is moot.

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