As Rosa Parks Statue Is Unveiled In The US Capitol, Voting Rights Act Comes Under Review By Supreme Court!

This morning, a 9 foot statue of Rosa Parks, the “Mother” of the Civil Rights Movement, for her heroism in allowing herself to become the center of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-1956, was unveiled in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol Building.

This is a wonderful event to commemorate the greatest human rights movement in American history, and the excitement over how far we have come, with President Barack Obama leading in commemorating the event, and the feeling of satisfaction that we have gone far enough in the half century since 1955, that we have an African American President in his second term in office!

But at the same time, ironically, a challenge by the state of Alabama, which arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to change her seat on a bus in Montgomery, is arguing a case before the Supreme Court today, which if successful, will negate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires nine Southern states and portions of seven other states, which have been shown to be discriminatory in voting regulations in their past, to have to submit any voting law changes to the Justice Department before they can be put into effect.

The argument is that the law is outmoded and no longer necessary, but that is not the case, as last year, there were attempts in many states to make it more difficult for African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, young people, the elderly, and the poor to be able to register and or vote, plus restrictive days and hours of voting, designed to help Republicans and Mitt Romney gain an unfair advantage in the elections.

Just because Alabama claims the law is no longer needed is belied by history and recent events, and the Congress has renewed the Voting Rights Act multiple times, and it should not be the right of the Supreme Court to repeal a law in effect for nearly a half century!

But this conservative Court just might do that, which would be a miscarriage of justice, and another example of how the Court has started to get out of control of promotion of true justice! Their decision on this case, along with the move to make Citizens United just the beginning of special interest investments to fix elections, and the gay marriage case, will make the Court’s decisions in the next few months extremely significant, and worrisome for those who believe the John Roberts Court is reckless and dangerous, with its conservative majority put on it by Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush!

7 comments on “As Rosa Parks Statue Is Unveiled In The US Capitol, Voting Rights Act Comes Under Review By Supreme Court!

  1. Juan Domingo Peron February 27, 2013 5:56 pm

    I didn’t know we still had big-government populist progressive Democrats in the South who are beating the hell out of African-Americans at the voting booth and not letting them vote! I missed that! The media did not even mention it. Could it be a cover-up? Also please show me where did the big government populist progressive Southern Democrats reinstated their Jim Crow laws. I seemed to have missed that too! Why the other day I saw a TV report from Chicago where an African-American woman voted for Barack Obama 6 times last November! And she was proud of it!

  2. Ronald February 27, 2013 6:05 pm

    Juan, it is not Democrats now in the South, but Republicans who have done everything they can to cut down minority voters by voter ID laws, and other Republicans in other states in the Midwest have done the same. The purpose is to cut down the vote so that Republicans, who cannot appeal to minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, and even Asian Americans, in more than small percentages, can win elections by default, since they cannot win on the issues. If left to their own methods, the Southern states would again bring back Jim Crow if they could, and the Republican majority Supreme Court is ready to help set progress backward, and let states rights win the day again, which means regression, not progress!

    And even if one person was engaged in corruption in Chicago proves nothing, and is just a curiosity, not a trend. But of course, I sensed you would say something, since you seem unable to ever stay silent on anything that is discussed on here. The one advantage is that my readership has increased, because of the debate that occurs! 🙂

  3. Juan Domingo Peron February 27, 2013 7:02 pm

    So , I never knew that for example in Argentina, as in the majority of the countries in the world that require ID to vote, are actually discriminating! You know what is more amazing! That people actually believe that requiring ID to vote is somehow the equivalent is of Jim Crow. It’s stunning how they don’t realize how incoherent and baseless that is. Yet , I hear it on and on , repeated like a psalm.

  4. Maggie February 27, 2013 11:42 pm

    Oh for heaven’s sake Juan. You are exactly why we should not feed the trolls. I believe you’re deliberately provacative with the intent to provoke readers of this blog as well as our host.
    You seem to enjoy the attention so much LOL I think you would do well to start a Juan blog instead of waiting like a crouching ninja ready to bite and bait. That way you could do what you really want to do, control the conversation.
    I know Professor Feinmen enjoys intellectual repartee, and well balanced and rational debate with readers but you Juan have become…at least to this reader, at times sarcastic and certainly in constant attack mode, an arrogant bore!
    I apologize Professor Feinman, but somebody had to tell him.

  5. Juan Domingo Peron February 28, 2013 9:48 am

    Maggie: Seriously now, I find it extremely amusing that requiring an ID for anyone who wants to vote is somehow discriminatory. That’s why I use sarcasm. Is there any other way to respond to such an accusation? It just cannot be seriously. That the cost of an ID is prohibitive to the poor and thus it is targeted at minorities is nonsensical. To tell me that today in America , the poor cannot pay $10 or less, the average cost in 22 states, or $25 or lees in the rest of the states, is preposterous. Furthermore in such states as California, Colorado and Nevada, if you are elderly or disabled the ID is free.The only way to claim that these laws are discriminatory is to indirectly imply or sustain that minorities will not take the trouble to stand in line to get a state ID at the local DMV and pay a few bucks. That thought in itself is biased.

  6. Maggie February 28, 2013 11:15 pm

    Requiring people to produce documents they do not have and moving the goal posts is indeed discriminatory. If you cannot understand that, I have to wonder about your thinking and understanding of the real world for millions of Americans.
    We all remember the Vivette Applewhite, a 93 year old who has voted in every election for the last 60 years.. Her purse was stolen and she has been unable to replace her identification because state officials in Pa could not find her birth certificate. Her crime..she didn’t have a driver’s license. Why would she? She doesn’t drive anymore. As the embarrassed election judge fumbled for a solution as the woman sobbed — this was the first election she missed in her life (and might be her last)
    And how about the 90 year old who had to jump through dozens of hoops as she faced the voter ID nightmare when she moved to Virginia. As it turns out, her birth certificate did not match her married name (ya think?) but despite the fact that she had brought a driver’s license, proof of her new residence, a Medicaid card and a bank card, she still had problems getting the state-issued ID card. After 5 trips to the DMV she was finally able to get it. But the twist was, after 5 trips and being treated with total disrespect as if she were a criminal, Jean Earley decided to hell with voting! After what she went through to get the ID, and how bad they made her feel, she was simply not confident she would be treated any better by election officials at her polling place.
    We also have the 93 year old woman in Tennessee who when she went to get her ID, was turned away because she didn’t have her marriage license..
    My 85 year old aunt in Tennessee has no driver’s license…. she has never driven. Additionally she and her twin were born to a poor farming family attended by a country midwife. There was no birth certificate registered.
    It utterly stuns me at how regressive this whole idea of voter policing has become!
    Juan it’s not that a voter ID idea is wrong. It’s that it does exclude many people due to the requirements to get the ID. A driver’s license, a birth certificate, a pass port… Physical issues such as being unable to stand in long lines, being disable.. This is the problem. If the decision is made that all people will need photo IDs to vote…then many people will simply be unable to vote. Not because they are lazy but because the hoops they have to jump through, the way they are treated by those policing their eligibility, health issues….age, poverty..
    It affects many elderly, disable and poor people.
    But large-scale voter fraud is virtually non-existent today. I challenge YOU Juan to show any studies with data supporting that voter fraud is wide spread.
    The efforts to root it out recall the horrid Jim Crow era. The former “party of Lincoln” has been most active in this fraudulent crusade and it’s despicable! It’s mostly prevented people of color and older and disabled folks from voting. It’s simply part of the newest effort by the right wing coo coos to disenfranchise anyone who is not likely to vote for the Republican candidate and you know it!
    The conservatives know you can’t win a national election and know full well they cannot win Senate or congressional elections now in any state unless it’s it the deep south or middle of the country or governed by a Republican Governor and majority Republican legislature.
    Juan your pitiful party is not interested in an ideology as that implies a set core of principles of what is right and wrong. Your party is not interested in right and wrong, but only winning elections and keeping power at any cost even if you have to cheat! Now the repubs are doing to “fix” representation and voting by creating these appalling gerrymandering schemes. Oh I know Democrates have done it as well but Republicans are taking it to a whole new level. The repubs will do or say anything to win. Hence the despicable hypocrisy of Justice Scalia, the wild gyrations of the alcoholic majority leader, Boehner and the constant lies told by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as well as the insane assertions by Rand Paul!
    You know darn good and well it is! Don’t even attempt to deny it.
    Do recall 2000 and 2004 when somehow voting machines weren’t delivered to African-American precincts in Ohio and Florida or unforeseen glitches prevented their ballots from counting? How about the ridiculously long lines with people waiting to vote for hours? This is the United States Of America, not some third world country! It’s not that the disenfranchised voters weren’t properly registered —or didn’t have an ID.., by and large they were and did. It was that a systematic campaign to keep them from voting was in place. It was so blatantly apparent during this past election I began to wonder if we were in a third world country!
    Let’s say that for the sake of argument that GOP extremists are rightly concerned about the “wrong” people somehow getting access to a ballot. Is this a prevalent activity that needs to be stopped at all costs? Give
    Me A Break!!! Show us the proof!
    One of the best studies on the subject was conducted by Justin Levitt of the New York University Law School. Its conclusion is simple: allegations of widespread voter fraud are greatly exaggerated. His study concluded:
    “Many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire…Most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless—and that of the few allegations remaining, most reveal election irregularities and other forms of election misconduct, rather than fraud by individual voters! The type of individual voter fraud supposedly targeted by recent legislative efforts—especially efforts to require certain forms of voter ID—simply does not exist.”
    Yet this was the basis of the right wing make-believe panic and the whirlwind of changes in voter access, state laws and every other problem or inconvenience they could dream up to throw at voters your party thought would vote Democratic.
    The creation and propagation of the voter fraud myth, which has gained huge currency in the GOP over the past decade, has been championed by Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer who is a fellow at your favorite source of your conservative BS Juan…the Heritage Foundation. He was profiled by Jane Mayer in a New Yorker piece. His work spawned numerous new rules in states like Florida and Ohio that not only promote strict voter ID laws, but ended up restricting voting in minority-dominated areas. Many of these restrictions are were found to be violations of the Voting Rights Act. Is it any surprise that now you Republicans are hell bent on targeting the VRA itself?
    If anything, voting should be as simple as going to an ATM. You can do it any time and at virtually any place. You should be do it through the mail, email or by texting. If you can buy a product from with one click, or buy an AK 47 at a gun show with NO background check, you certainly should be able to vote with 21st-century ease.
    Not only can voting be made easier, security concerns are easily addressed. If trillions of dollars can be sent around the world every day with no one stealing it, there are plenty of encryption solutions available to prevent voter fraud, which isn’t a problem anyway. Here are some starters for the post-election discussion:
    * Make voter registration seamless. It would be tied into your Social Security number, although no one would have to know that. On your 18th birthday, you’re registered automatically, no matter where you are. A central database would have this information.
    * Although there have been great strides in absentee and early voting, there shouldn’t be just one election day. The world’s largest democracy — India — takes weeks to vote. Spread it out and shorten the election season while you’re at it. Both parties should agree to that!!
    * You can tie in voter identification to any number of biometrics such as fingerprints or retinal scans. While that may prove too expensive to implement just now, it’s something to consider when the technology gets cheaper. DNA sample chips, anyone? I dare say put a few if our best college graduates, hell, even high school students on it and they would be able to come up with a plethora of solutions that would solve the pathetic man-made fences put up by your despicable party during this past Presidential election.
    * Don’t link voting to polling places. People are mobile! They should be able to vote anywhere — as long as their voting information is in a master database that can be accessed by voting officials. Why do we have to require that older, disabled or immobile people be wheeled into a someplace to have a picture ID taken, required to provide several forms of identification…like a birth certificate which many elderly do not have, the wheeled into polling places to wait for hours to cast their vote? Why can’t they vote at home? And make sure these absentee ballots are not conveniently lost or not counted!
    Most importantly, big money needs to be removed from the political campaign process. A constitutional amendment banning all PAC, union and corporate money needs to be in place. Citizens United, which has spawned more than $2 billion in spending during this election cycle, has to go.
    How would elections be financed? Make the airwaves free. Most people forget that the electro-magnetic spectrum is owned by everyone. Even the Internet is a public commons developed by public money.
    And for God’s sake, can we please shorten the political season? Six months is fine; three months is even better.
    Even as the election season comes to a close, our mission in a democracy is clear. If we want to keep it, we need to protect the rights of all of our citizens. That means fair enforcement of voting rights, universal access to ballots (electronic or paper) and getting the greatest number of people involved in the process without the corruption of big-money interests.
    “Out of the many, one” is our motto (e pluribus unum). It still makes sense, but many of America’s citizens still have to rise up and defend it against other Americans!

  7. Ronald March 1, 2013 12:00 am

    Maggie, what an amazing discussion of the issue of voting! You mentioned all of the points that show that there is a need for voter reform, and it is against democracy to deny anyone the right to vote, and yet now, the Supreme Court seems bent to take away a right because of the racism of the Republican majority, particularly Scalia and Alito, and the total lack of concern about his fellow African Americans by Clarence Thomas, who should never have been approved for the Court in the first place. This is the result of Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes being in office, that we are saddled with such despicable members of the highest court in the land!

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