Systemic Racism on Steroids

Chris Hayes blasted the Supreme Court last night for what it has done to voting rights, and I can’t find the video clip. The transcript is a bit long to post, but here it is, and you can start a few paragraphs from the top where it says “HAYES: What problem are they solving for?” Here’s just a bit:

I mean, the Voting Rights Act. It`s what made American democracy as we know it, American democracy, it overcame totalitarian apartheid rule in the south. It`s part of our national civic canon, the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement who fought and died for it.

They are celebrated to this day. They shed their own blood to make America a true democracy for all. People like Lamar Smith who organized black Mississippians devote and then was shot dead by a white man in broad daylight on the courthouse lawn in 1955. And people like Medgar Evers, the NAACP is first field Secretary in Mississippi who was shot and killed, murdered in his own home in 1963. And people like John Lewis who led a group marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, and was brutally beaten with inches of his life by state troopers.

I mean, you can`t be against the Voting Rights Act. What, you`re going to be on the side of the state troopers? You`re going to be on the side of those with dogs and fire hoses? You can`t be against the voting rights act without desecrated the martyrs who fought and died for it and the religion that built up around it unless, unless you`re John Roberts, the conservative on elected Chief Justice Supreme Court. He doesn`t have to have any voters vote for him, right, lifetime appointment.

Selma, 1965

So what’s the difference between Chief Justice Roberts and his crew and the likes of Sheriff Jim Clark? A cloak of respectability, I suppose. A very thin, flimsy cloak.

See The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights by Nicholas Stephanopoulos of Harvard Law School.

Today’s conservative judges pride themselves on being textualists. When interpreting a statute, they always start with the law’s text. Unless the law is ambiguous, they end with the text, too. As Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. put it just last year, the courts’ focus must never waver from what a statute’s “words were understood to mean at the time of enactment.” Any other approach, even one that “sails under a textualist flag,” Alito lectured, is “like a pirate ship” — inappropriate and illegitimate.

So it was a shock to see the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by none other than Alito, stacking one extra-textual constraint after another onto Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. That provision prohibits any “standard, practice, or procedure” that makes it disproportionately harder for minority citizens to vote. In that situation, voting isn’t “equally open” to citizens of all races, and minority citizens “have less opportunity” to vote.
But Alito, and the five conservative justices who joined his opinion in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, were unwilling to heed this clear textual command. They invented several limits that will make it harder for plaintiffs to win future Section 2 cases — and that appear nowhere in Section 2’s language.

Last October I wrote a post called A Tyranny of the Dead that called originalism or textualism or whatever you want to name it a crock. “The originalists may think they are not making decisions based on their personal values, but of course they do,” I wrote.  “They just lack the self-awareness to recognize their own biases as biases.” But I take that back. They know good and well what they are doing.

Paul Waldman, The Supreme Court’s new ruling confirms it’s the enemy of democracy.

The partisan commitment of this court is so clear that in oral arguments, the lawyer for the Arizona GOP comfortably declared that the party has standing to support the law throwing out ballots cast at the wrong precinct because counting such votes “puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.” He knew who he was talking to.

The big picture here is that the court’s conservatives operate according to the “heads we win, tails you lose” approach to voting rights, in which with only the occasional exception, the best predictor of how a voting rights case will turn out is which side the Republican Party is taking.

They are nothing but party hacks. If it’s ever possible that we can get a big enough not-stupid majority in Congress before democracy is completely destroyed, court reform has to be high on the to-do list.

The Federalist Society judges — (clockwise from upper left) Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.

9 thoughts on “Systemic Racism on Steroids

  1. They are nothing but party hacks.

    Bingo. And it goes back at least ten or twenty years. Protecting the rights of the rich to buy elections while making it harder for everyone else to vote.

    My anger burns against these clowns. It also burns (a bit) against Ruth Bader Ginsberg who, for all her good, should’ve retired early, although McConnell would’ve blocked her replacement too.

    These idiots are hastening the day when the US government will be overthrown by people who have had enough. But not before we get another right wing dictatorship, by someone a lot more competent than the last one.

  2. RepubliKKKLANS/KKKonservatives to democracy"

    "Check.  And, we believe, mate.  Yes, checkmate."

    I'm at a loss to see anything positive on the horizon.

    With "Shelby," Roberts "fixed" that which didn't need repair.

    He said, "There's a problem here, Congress.  Fix it." 

    Bullshit!  The GQP had no interest in rewriting the VRA, and Roberts knew that.  And it has even less of one now that they're near finalizing what they've long dreamed of, and planned for: A way to keep power, permanently.  Permanently.

    And Roberts knows that whatever laws the Democrats pass while they still have a majority that will try to keep the RepubliKKKLANS from suppressing minority voting, he and his 5 Fascist judicial cohorts, united in bigotry, can smack them down.  WILL smack them down.



    S1: "The For the People Act?" 


    Roberts will laugh as he and the other five bigoted Fascists strike them down!

    Ok, talk me off THIS ledge.



    • Not permanently.

      They can't live forever.

      And the Stupid White Folks, who keep voting for the GQP traitors who appointed the Fascist Society judges, are a shrinking and aging portion of the population.

      They are still the great dinosaurs, and demographic change is still the asteroid.

      Plus, the GQP fascists are making it more and more obvious what they are, to the point that even the So-Called Liberal Media won't be able to cover for the fascists successfully much longer.

      The fascists are doing nothing but slowly awakening a sleeping giant, and filling him with a terrible resolve.

      Plus, the Constitution says nothing about judicial review, so a Democratic President, and a firmly Democratic Congress, could just tell the Fascist Court an interesting use for their gavels, and go ahead and enforce HR1 and S1 anyway.

      How many divisions does the Supreme Court have?


      Why do you think a growing majority of Americans will meekly submit to an ever-shrinking Fascist minority? 


  3. I read that the National Federation of the Blind was loudly protesting a role of a blind person being given to a non-blind person.  The National Federation of the Blind is one seriously powerful political force, and I am very familiar with many past and present members.  A lot of them can read and enlarge this print to do so.  If not the blind grapevine can and will get this message out if the want to do so,

    I have worked with many handicapped people blind and with other disabilities.  When the SCOTUS disallowed proxy ballot, what is improperly called ballot harvesting, they are disenfranchising handicapped peoples choices.  I am not saying some blind people or other handicapped people could not navigate the polls.  Many cannot, and many would find it challenging at best.  So, in effect, the SCPTUS has disallowed many handicapped the equality of voting opportunity in this country.  If that was their intent it reeked of fascism, if it was not their intent it was incompetent ignorance of unintended consequences.  

    So NFB, beat your canes to this one.  You have big power, power for all handicapped people not just blind people.  Do you think that the fascists have changed?  Yes you have a privileged place in the handicapped community and as such you must not waste your time and power on the trivial.  The larger idea of the wealth that the blind and other handicapped people give to the commonwealth is needed by all, and most desperately by much more diverse and severely handicapped people.  You must preserve the tiny power of the most feeble, one solitary vote.  By caretaker, by family member, by any means they can make their political will known, they must be heard. They must not be disenfranchised.  Your political force is more needed here, and more valuable to the blind and all other handicapped people, than playing at the casting couch.  I know from my time with you that no film or Hollywood portrayal can do you justice, blind actor or actor playing blind.  Quit wasting your talents and political savvy.  You have bigger tasks at hand.  Get busy.


  4. moonbat,

    Thanks, I needed that!

    "Owning the libs" is the coin of the realm in KKKonservative circles. 

    So it's always nice to a RepubliKKKLAN be wholely and totally "owned" by a Democrat!!!

    Ol' Kev is such a weaselly putz.

  5. I can't think of any place in the original Constitution or the Bill of Rights that enshrines equality. There's no mention of democracy (or prohibition of socialism.) The voting franchise was originally extended to white male landowners in all thirteen original states. In history books and even among most liberals that's attributed to southern racism which, of course, went away with the Civil War Amendments. But, ahem, northern states also wrote their voting rules to prohibit women and many ethnic groups and all poor people from exercising the franchise. Opposition to women's suffrage wasn't limited to the south. Madison and Jefferson distrusted the popular vote. This is Originalism.

    Step back and look at the problem. Political power is like gold bullion, a substance of inherent value. 'We the People" stole that power from the King of England in 1776.  The Declaration of Independence proposed that just political power came from the people who were, after all, the source of wealth. The problem remained, after independence, WTF do we do with the gold bricks? Political power is as real as gold bricks and once taken from England, where would the colonies put this wealth? 

    We rejected royalty, hereditary power, and banned the union of the church and state because of the obscene abuses Europe inflicted with religious purges. (The Spanish Inquisition ended less than a century before the American Revolution.) We knew where we were NOT going to put political power in 1776 but we're still deciding where we WILL put political power. 

    I think it's a political mistake to pretend we are a democracy and the attempts to suppress the vote are an anomaly. It absolutely represents the history and origins of this country WHICH I REJECT. The US Supreme Court wants to distribute power consistent with the amount of gold an investor will put into the political process. Let's call it for what it is and HAS BEEN historically – and make a permanent break from the intent of the founding fathers.

    One person – one vote.

  6. The partisan commitment of this court is so clear that in oral arguments, the lawyer for the Arizona GOP comfortably declared that the party has standing to support the law throwing out ballots cast at the wrong precinct because counting such votes “puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.” He knew who he was talking to.

    The SC is clearly partisan; you'd have to be willfully blind or just plain dishonest to pretend that is not the case.  The republicans have been packing the court with ideologues, and lately, by any means necessary, for the last 40 years.  There is a logical, damn near necessary response to correcting this, and that is to expand the court.  But all it takes is for McConnell to declare that option extreme partisanship, to not only scare off democrats, but even get a not insignificant number of them high-mindedly parroting his bullcrap as if that will further insulate them.  And from what, republican voters who'll never vote for them anyway, or "suburban moms" or some other slap dash constituency some "genius" democratic consultant who rarely wins  tells them to court at the expense of their base which, somehow automagically, will be made up for and we'll march to a glorious centrist victory?  How many times does that not have to happen to get them all to wake the f*** up?

    There is no upside when democrats insist on playing fair "by the rules" in the fantastical hope that, if we wait long enough, one day we'll be magically teleported back to a time when republicans put the country first and will, suddenly, with a new revelation for the love of comity, abandon their thus far successful obsession with power to join hands and sing Kumbayaa as they essentially vote to dismantle the power they've accumulated, because America.   

    • In the post above I described what they do.  Here's a likely reason why some democrats are opposed to packing the court. 

      When it comes to wealth, corporate agendas, and just naked oligarchy, the Supreme Court is the ultimate firewall.  Having a solid "conservative" advantage on the court means in the end they will likely get or keep what they've paid millions in lobbying dollars for.

      Exxon oil lobbyist in sting video identifies 11 senators 'crucial' to its lobbying

      In the video, lobbyist Keith McCoy, thinking he's talking to headhunters, names eleven senators he holds sway with on behalf of Exxon, six of whom are democrats:

      Sen. Chris Coons
      Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
      Sen. Jon Tester
      Sen. Maggie Hassan
      Sen. Mark Kelly
      Sen. Joe Manchin

      He makes special mention of Joe Manchin, who he calls weekly, as if that would surprise anyone. How many constituents of these senators have that kind of access?  None!

      When the idea of packing the court in response to the latest addition of yet another conservative ideologue, came up, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess what McCoy, and other such lobbyists, and there are many, told the democratic senators he owns:  be against it!  McCoy and other lobbyists could give a rat's behind what excuse they use, and probably find laughable the pious, high-minded excuses they give for "preserving democracy" when the very nature of their relationship couldn't be more anti-democratic.

      Representative democracy, in a practical sense, has long since been captured by capital.  What republicans are doing with their voter suppression schemes is to freeze out the dems and corner the market on paid bribery for themselves.


Comments are closed.