Voting Rights Act Anachronism



By Stephen Z. Nemo (a.k.a., Mr. Curmudgeon):

In a ruling issued last week, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared, “Our country has changed.” He said a mouth full. Roberts spoke to the obvious change in racial attitudes in America, particularly in the Jim Crow South. The post-slavery institution designed by the Democratic Party to shackle emancipated African-Americans politically and socially, enforced by its paramilitary wing the Ku Klux Klan, has, for the most part, broken free of its sordid past.

In its Shelby County vs. Holder ruling, the high court struck down provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act requiring states with a history of voting discrimination from having to seek Justice Department or court approval of redrawn voting districts.

Writing for the high court’s majority, Justice Roberts noted a “1,000 percent increase since 1965 in the number of African-American elected officials in the six states originally covered by the Voting Rights Act.” After regaling us with statistical data, Roberts got to the Constitutional heart of the issue.

“States retain broad autonomy, however, in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government, including ‘the power to regulate elections. There is also a ‘fundamental principle of equal sovereignty’ among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States. The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles.”

In other words, Congress cannot single out some states as less equal than others. 152 years after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, America’s Civil War is over.

Although the ruling upheld a state’s “power to regulate elections,” the court in a previous ruling struck down Arizona’s law requiring residents to present documentary proof of citizenship before registering to vote.

In his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia ruled the law unconstitutional because the “EAC [Election Assistance Commission] did not grant Arizona’s request to include this new requirement among state-specific instructions for Arizona on the Federal Form.”

The court, therefore, left it to a future Congress to amend the federal election form to require proof of citizenship of the nation’s voters. Scalia, in effect, left the question of voter fraud to, well, the voters.

That means the midterm elections of 2014 affords U.S. citizens the opportunity to unseat the politicians of both parties that sanctioned voter fraud with the weight of federal power.

Apathy among the nation’s lawful voters, therefore, is the gateway to fraud.