Tag Archives: Voting Rights Act

The Supremes give me reverse November 2008 déjà vu

Updated below (last on Friday, June 28, 2013)

For this progressive Californian, this week feels like an uncanny reversal of Election Day 2008: In November 2008, we Californians saw our nation’s first non-all-white president* elected, a historical milestone — but with the narrow (52-48) passage of Proposition H8, which wrote homophobia into the California state Constitution by banning same-sex marriage, we non-heterosexual Californians were stripped of our constitutionally guaranteed right to marry, which the California Supreme Court earlier that year had ruled was ours.**

Yesterday, in a typically 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, claiming that the act’s provisions were too outdated, despite the fact that Congress had renewed it overwhelmingly in 2006, which wasn’t all that fucking long ago.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nailed it on the head when she remarked, “Throwing out [U.S. Justice Department] pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes [to voting laws] is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

While I surmise that Congress will restore the Voting Rights Act in the future, that won’t happen, of course, with the current wingnut-dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, media reports are that the fascists of the red states, in light of this new U.S. Supreme Court decision, are working fast and furiously to reinstate their voter suppression laws (previously shot down by the Justice Department) just in time for the 2014 midterm elections.

I have to wonder, of course, if that was the goal of the wingnuts on the high court: To help the struggling Repugnican Tea Party in the next national elections. Hey, they’ve certainly involved themselves in election-fixing before, which even former U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan and who, with four other like-minded “justices,” put George W. Bush in office, has expressed a potential problem with.

Yesterday was a giant leap backwards for the equal human and civil rights of non-whites, and was yet another stain on our nation caused by yet another 5-4 vote by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, right up there with the court’s 5-4 coronation of George W. Bush as president in late 2000 even though he’d lost the election by more than a half-million popular votes and even though the pivotal state of Florida clearly had been stolen as a “victory” for Bush and with the court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, which reinforced the bogus concept that corporations are just like individual people, and that just like individual people, corporations have First Amendment rights.

It’s mind-blowing to ponder the fact that the voting rights for which so many Americans fought and even died were eliminated at the stroke of the poisoned pen of just one right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Yet at the same time I suppose that it’s a little encouraging to know that it was only a 5-4 vote, that only one “justice” made the difference.)

I hope that the backlash against the right wing’s ongoing attempt to suppress voters is considerable. Generally speaking, the right-wing traitors among us win little battles here and there, but over time, they continue to lose the war. They stymie and delay progress as much as they can, but progress still marches on, and the haters go down in history as the haters that they are or were.

But today, unlike in November 2008, there was good news for us non-heterosexuals when the US. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 (of course), that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed in 1996, is unconstitutional, as it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws (duh).

This ruling means that no same-sex couple that has been married in a state with legalized same-sex marriage may be denied any of the federal benefits of marriage that are enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

However, this also means that same-sex couples in most states will not have the same rights as do same-sex couples in other states (those states that have adopted legalized same-sex marriage), which, of course, is a patently unfair and thus an untenable situation.

Yes, the nation’s high court, while it struck down DOMA, by yet another 5-4 vote refused to touch Prop H8, ruling that, as Reuters puts it, “supporters of [Prop H8] did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck the law down.” Thus, the court apparently very intentionally avoided directly ruling on whether or not any state may constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage, leaving same-sex marriage, for now, as an untenable issue of “states’ rights.”

Because the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn’t touch Prop H8, the lower federal courts’ rulings that Prop H8 is unconstitutional (because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment) stand, and my understanding is that this means that California will have same-sex marriage again, as it did briefly in 2008 (between the effective date of the California Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage and the effective date of the same-sex-marriage-nixing Prop H8) — but, I understand, there’s more legal wrangling ahead as to what, exactly, the Supremes’ refusal to touch Prop H8 means for California.

It was cowardly, irresponsible and short-sighted of the court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment but to then refuse to rule that accordingly, no state may outlaw same-sex marriage on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment, but apparently today’s rulings were, pathetically, the best that we could get from this right-wing court.

Of course it would have been nice if either or both of today’s high-court rulings on DOMA and Prop H8 (the court’s cowardly refusal to issue a ruling on Prop H8 was the court’s “ruling” on Prop H8) had been 6-3 or even 7-2 (or hell, even 8-1 or 9-0), but the right-wing homo-haters have no credibility in (predictably) calling the 5-4 decisions the “tyranny” of the U.S. Supreme Court against the American majority when a series of recent nationwide polls clearly show that a clear majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage.

And those fascistic haters who claim that to overturn Prop H8 is to overturn the will of California’s voters conveniently ignore the two facts that (1) any ballot measure passed by a majority of any state’s voters can be overturned by a federal court if that court deems it to be unconstitutional (Civics 101 — duh) and that (2) while Prop H8 passed in November 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, polls show now that around 60 percent of Californians support same-sex marriage; were Californians to vote again on the issue again today, same-sex marriage would pass by a decisive margin. Prop H8 no longer is the will of the majority of California’s voters.

So: Today we can celebrate a significant although incomplete victory for same-sex couples who desire legalized marriage and the rights (and, yes, the responsibilities) that come with legalized marriage.

But we need to fight like hell to regain the ground that we just lost where voting rights are concerned, and we need to fight like hell to gain full marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states.

The U.S. Constitution’s demands for fairness and equality demand that we do so.

*True, Barack Obama (whom I don’t really consider “black” but consider to be of mixed race) turned out to be a huge disappointment, a George W. Bush Lite, but I did cast my vote for him in November 2008 before I knew how his presidency was going to unfold. I voted for him in 2008 at least in part because I thought that it was great to be able to vote for the first non-all-white president in U.S. history. (In 2012 I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again; I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.)

**And this was no radically left-wing California Supreme Court; when it ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008, most of its justices at that time had been appointed by Repugnican, not by Democratic, governors.

Update (Wednesday, June 26, 2013): Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown has instructed the California Department of Public Health, which comes under his authority, to direct all of California’s 58 counties to begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses as soon as is legally possible, which might take a month or so.

Update (Friday, June 28, 2013): The homo-hating wingnuts here in California (and elsewhere) are going apoplectic over this (from The Associated Press today):

The four plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot [today], just hours after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the San Francisco City Hall wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, who married at Los Angeles City Hall 90 minutes later with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presiding. …

Although the couples fought for the right to wed for years, their weddings came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order [this] afternoon dissolving, “effective immediately,” a stay it had imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.

Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, called the appeals court’s swift action “outrageous.” Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask the high court to rehear the case, and Proposition 8’s backers had not yet announced whether they would do so. …

Call the homo-haters a waaaaaambulance! Anyway, the AP story continues:

The [U.S.] Supreme Court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 case until after the 25-day period, which ends July 21. But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who joined the two couples in the lawsuit, said [today] that the Ninth Circuit panel had the power to lift the stay it imposed.

“The fact of the matter is the only thing holding up the weddings was the stay that the Ninth Circuit had in place,” Herrera said. “The fact that there is a separate 25-day period allowing the petition to go for a rehearing is separate and apart from that stay.”

[California Gov. Jerry] Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately after the appeals court’s order. A memo from the Department of Public Health said “same-sex marriage is again legal in California” and ordered county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. …

Anyway: Wow. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s handed-down decision on Wednesday not to touch the Prop H8 case, we Californians had figured that there would be a wait of at least around a month for same-sex marriages to resume in California; we didn’t expect them to resume this quickly.

I misspoke above, by the way: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday did not uphold both federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision that Prop H8 violated the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in February 2012 to uphold Walker’s original ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the circuit court’s ruling, which then reverted the matter of Prop H8 to Walker’s original 2010 ruling.

Frankly, Vaughn Walker, who is now retired, is a hero to me. Yes, he is a gay man, and yes, the homo-haters tried (but failed) to have his 2010 pro-same-sex-marriage ruling invalidated because he’s gay (apparently only [presumedly] straight white men can be fair and impartial judges, you see), but Walker is no left-wing radical: He was nominated as a federal judge first by Ronald Reagan and then by George H. W. Bush, and apparently his political leanings are conservative-libertarian.

I consider Walker’s ruling to be a landmark document in U.S. gay, lesbian and bisexual history. You can read it, if you want, here.

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Only a Wayback Machine can save the Repugnican Tea Party now

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors should consider hiring Mr. Peabody as a consultant, and they’ll need to go back to even before 1900…

So the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ talking point now is that in order to win over voters from now on, they have to communicate better.

Wow.

They’ve been communicating quite well, actually. Anyone who has been paying attention should be quite clear on where they have stood. Take the Repugnican Tea Party’s platform that was approved from its last national convention. This is Faux News reporting, too (in August):

Tampa, Fla. — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all  abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs. …

There alone, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors alienated most women and almost all non-heterosexuals (there are some self-loathing non-heterosexuals who support the Repugnican Tea Party, but there aren’t a lot of them). There’s no way to “better” “communicate” such stances as that the embryo’s or fetus’ “rights” always trump those of the mother (even, very apparently, in such cases as rape, incest or when the mother’s life would be at risk should the pregnancy continue) or that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to ban same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Those are the hard-right, misogynist, homophobic and patriarchal stances that the Repugnican Tea Party took in its latest party platform, which wasn’t passed nearly long enough ago for the fascistic traitors who comprise the party to claim now that they just didn’t “communicate” well enough.

It’s not just women and gays whom the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have alienated, of course.

Most of the traitors still are beating up on the brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border, whom they regard as subhuman, much as how the Nazis regarded the Jews and how the Israelis, ironically, now regard the Palestinians.

Ohioan “Joe the Plumber,” one of the poster boys for the stupid white man, who last year ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket (of course) declared in Arizona — Ground Zero for the anti-immigrant bigotry and hatred in the U.S.; indeed, Arizona is the South Africa of the Southwest — in August that the U.S. government should “put a damn fence on the border going with Mexico and start shooting.” Those were the words of a candidate for a federal office.

Let’s not leave out black Americans, of course.

A huge chunk of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still maintain that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus his presidency is illegitimate — as though if there had been any problem with Obama’s constitutionally mandated qualifications to be president, neither Billary Clinton nor John McCainosaurus, who must have spent plenty of dough on opposition research and who both wanted to be president very badly, would have discovered it and then worked to oust Obama from the 2008 presidential race.

Michelle Obama can’t do anything without being criticized for it by the white-supremacist wingnuts as being un-first-lady-like. What if Laura Bush — or (shivers) First Lady Ann Romney — had announced the Oscar for Best Picture? Would the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have brayed that that was “inappropriate”?

Of course not — because their main problem with Barack Obama and his wife is that they’re blacks who are in the White House.

And even while we have some of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claiming that they just need to “communicate” “better,” as I type this sentence we have most of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party publicly hoping that the right-wing-controlled U.S. Supreme Court will eviscerate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — because despite the fact that the Repugnican Tea Party still advocates measures that keep blacks and other non-whites and other Democratically leaning individuals from voting, such as strict voter identification requirements (in the name of preventing the “voter fraud” that does not exist — that’s in their party platform, too) and insanely long voting lines for black, non-white and other Democratically leaning voters (coupled, of course, with short lines for Repugnican Tea Party voters), race-based voter suppression is a relic from the past, you see.

And if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors can’t suppress enough Democratically leaning voters, fuck it, they’ll just at least try to change the way that we divvy up the electoral votes in the Electoral College, but only in those states that will boost the Repugnican Tea Party. (We’ll leave Texas and the other dark-red states alone, you see.)

It’s clear that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors like, respect and support democracy only when they win/“win” elections. (The quotation marks are for such elections as the 2000 presidential election.) You can’t “communicate” that obvious fact “better.”

We also have Mittens Romney’s comment in October that “47 percent” of Americans are mooches, when, in fact, it’s the 47 percent who voted for Romney who are the takers, while the denizens of the blue states (the “47 percent” whom Romney was referring to) always have been and always will be the makers, supporting the welfare states that are the red states.

Muslims, too, have been bashed relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party — aside from advocating the continued mass slaughter of Muslims (such as by incredibly stupidly attacking Iran and by stupidly blindly continuing to support the mass-murderous wingnuts of Israel in their continued Nazi-like mass slaughter of the Palestinians), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors call President Obama a Muslim as a slam — and I can’t see most Muslims ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party any more than I can see myself ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party.

As a gay man, am I to just forget what the Repugnican Tea Party just put in its fucking party platform — that my equal human and civil rights guaranteed to me by the U.S. Constitution should be denied to me by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that specifically singles me out for such discrimination? Am I to just forget that George W. Bush made opposition to same-sex marriage a centerpiece of his 2004 “re”-election campaign? (Speaking of Gee Dubya, am I also to just forget that he blatantly stole office in 2000 and then started a bogus war for which he should be executed as the war criminal that he is?) Am I to just forget that the House Repugnicans right now are spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to try to keep the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” alive because the Obama administration refuses to defend the blatantly unconstitutional — and thus the infuckingdefensible — act?

Are women just supposed to forget the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ clearly articulated stances on such issues as abortion, birth control, rape and violence against women?

Are Latinos just supposed to forget the brown-skinned-immigrant bashing that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have been using to induce ignorant, bigoted white voters to vote for them?

Are blacks just supposed to forget?

“We need to be asking for votes in the most powerful way possible, which is to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from,” Karl Rove (a.k.a. George W. “Bush’s brain”) said just yesterday just in my backyard, here in Sacramento, at the California Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ convention.

How has that tactic been working for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, though?

They fronted Sarah Palin after Barack Obama had picked Joe Biden (and not Billary Clinton or another woman) to be his running mate. The message was supposed to be that the Repugnican Tea Party is the party that wuvs women.

Women didn’t buy it, and probably were insulted that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors think that they’re that fucking stupid. (I was thusly insulted, and I’m a male.) Despite Palin’s supposedly having demonstrated that the Repugnican Tea Party overnight magically became the party of and for women, Obama in November 2008 won a higher percentage of the popular vote than George W. Bush did in 2000 or in 2004, and he couldn’t have done that without women.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors then put Michael Steele in charge of the Repugnican National Committee — as the first black head of the party, in obvious cynical response to the election of the nation’s first black president. (Steele, before he became the head of the party, had been only the lieutenant governor of Maryland. That’s how few blacks are in any real position of power within the Repugnican Tea Party.)

Although on Steele’s watch (from January 2009 to January 2011) the Repugnican Tea Party traitors won back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 (in the “tea party” “revolution”), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless dumped Steele in January 2011 and replaced him with white frat boy Reince Priebus — the usual face of the party.

And although the Repugnican Tea Party traitors lost seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, on white frat boy Reince Priebus’ watch, just this past January the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless granted the stupid white man Priebus a second two-year term as head of the Repugnican Tea Party.

As George W. Bush amply demonstrated, the bar is set much, much, much lower for stupid white men than it is for anyone else, perhaps especially for blacks.

Now the Repugnican Tea Party traitors cynically are fronting younger Latino male candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as a presidential hopeful, and, here in California, Abel Maldonado as a gubernatorial hopeful.

Rubio is a 41-year-old Cuban American, and of course Cuban Americans, being (1) the rich Cubans who had exploited others for their own selfish gain before they had to escape from Fidel Castro’s anti-capitalist revolution or (2) their spoiled spawn (such as Rubio), predominantly are right-wingers who believe that the lighter-skinned should continue to exploit the darker-skinned.

Yet almost two-thirds of Latinos in the U.S. have Mexican roots and only 3.5 percent of them have Cuban roots. So how representative is Marco Fucking Rubio of the nationwide Latino community? (But he’s Latino — close enough, right? Is that not how the white supremacists think? Kind of like how 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and not one of them was from Iraq, but let’s invade Iraq because that’s close enough, right?)

Californian Repugnican Tea Party member Abel Maldonado is 45 years old, and while unlike Marco Rubio he is Mexican-American, he couldn’t win even the post of state controller in 2006 or lieutenant governor in 2010. And he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives last year but lost. And he is Californian Repugnicans’ Great Latino Hope.

When will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors realize that the voters can recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Will Marco Rubio (and others who fit his demographic) magically work to win over Latino voters to the Repugnican Tea Party any more than Palin and Steele worked to win over women and black voters?

And is Karl Rove not blatantly asserting that appearance is all that matters when he advises his fellow Repugnican Tea Party traitors “to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from”?

Fuck substance, right? Fuck the Repugnican Tea Party’s continuing history of oppressing certain groups of people, right? Just put a right-wing sellout like Sarah Palin or Michael Steele or Marco Rubio out there and the voters won’t know the difference, right?

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors can find a wingnut or two (or maybe even three) among any minority group and front him or her or them as a candidate. It’s not nearly enough, though, to wipe out decades of the party’s bigotry and discrimination that not only is historical but still continues as I type this sentence.

Perhaps especially when the Repugnican Tea Party then blames its electoral losses on the tokens whom it once fronted and then replaces them with the traditional stupid white men (there was no Palin repeat in 2012 — no, it was two stupid white men on the Repugnican Tea Party presidential ticket, the way that it always had been pre-Palin, and, as I noted, Reince Priebus kept his job as the party’s head even though the booted Michael Steele apparently had done a better job than Priebus did) the party loses even more ground with the groups whose votes it claimed it wanted. You won’t score points with these groups by turning your tokens into your scapegoats.

Even Mittens Romney, for fuck’s sake, reportedly has manned up enough to blame his campaign for his loss in November.

“I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did,” Romney reportedly said on Faux News today.

However, while Romney reportedly quite correctly identified his “47 percent” remarks as being damaging to his campaign — insulting almost half of the nation’s voters on video isn’t a great idea — he also reportedly attributed his loss to the loss of black and Latino voters.

As much as I don’t want to defend Mittens Romney, who would have been a disastrous president, the fact is that there was nothing that his campaign could have done to win over black and Latino voters, given his own fucking party’s disastrous historical relations with those groups.

Actually, I guess that I’m not defending Mittens, because his apparent belief that there was anything that he could have done to magically win over black and Latino voters demonstrates, I think, how stupid he and his ilk believe black and Latino voters are, and how superiorly crafty and clever the white man is, that black and Latino voters are just going to forget decades of bigotry and discrimination at the hands of the Repugnican Party because some white-male Repugnican Tea Party candidate comes up with just the right hocus-pocus, mindfuck rhetoric to hypnotize them into voting for him over their own best interests.

No amount of attempted-Jedi-mindfuck rhetoric and no amount of tokens (like Marco Rubio or Sarah Palin) are going to help the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in future elections. Only a small percentage of the members of the minority groups that historically have been oppressed by the Repugnican Tea Party (and women, of course, are no minority group) are going to fall for this the-foxes-actually-wuv-the-chickens bullshit.

No, what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors sorely need now is a time machine so that they can go back in time — waaay back in time — and treat certain groups of people a whole lot better than they did over at least many decades.

I wish them luck with that.

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Election of President Barack Obama is no excuse to kill the Voting Rights Act

Even as they push out their first black party chairman, the Repugnicans are claiming that the election of Barack Obama as president in November is proof that there no longer is any such thing as racism in the United States of America.

Reports the Los Angeles Times:

The election of Barack Obama as president has been hailed as a crowning achievement of America’s civil rights movement, the triumph of a black candidate in a nation with a history of slavery and segregation.

But in a twist, Obama’s success has emerged as a central argument from conservatives who say his victory proves that some of the nation’s most protective civil rights laws can be erased from the books.

Conservative legal foundations and the Republican governor of Georgia, challenging key parts of the Voting Rights Act, filed briefs in the Supreme Court this month pointing to racial progress and a high black turnout in the fall election. They said Obama’s victory heralded the emergence of a colorblind society in which special legal safeguards for minorities are no longer required.

“The America that has elected Barack Obama as its first African American president is far different than when [the Voting Rights Act] was first enacted in 1965,” argued Texas lawyer Gregory S. Coleman, whose client, a utility board in Austin, is challenging parts of the law….

The Texas case to be heard next month will decide whether certain states and localities, mostly in the South, must continue to obtain Justice Department approval before changing voting districts, polling locations or other election procedures. The requirement is viewed as something of a badge of dishonor in the South.

By invoking Obama, conservatives are in effect asking the justices to issue not only a legal decree about the fate of one law, but also to weigh in on emotionally charged questions about American society: Does the election of a black president mean that racism is no longer a factor in American politics? And are civil rights laws outdated in the age of Obama?

Conservatives said they planned to apply the Obama argument in the court of public opinion as well. It could play a role, for example, in potential ballot initiatives in 2010 in Arizona and Missouri seeking to roll back affirmative action laws.

“We will say, ‘How do you account for the election of Barack Obama?’ ” said Ward Connerly, a leading anti-affirmative-action activist [who himself is black]. “If we can’t get rid of these laws now with Obama, I don’t know what yardstick we’re going to use.”

Civil rights advocates bristle at the assertion that Obama’s victory signals it is time to dismantle the Voting Rights Act and other laws.

“It’s an overly simplistic argument that doesn’t reflect the facts,” said Jon M. Greenbaum of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

He and others pointed to state-by-state voting data from 2008, presented to the Supreme Court, showing persistent racial polarization in the Deep South and elsewhere. In Alabama and Mississippi, for example, Obama won only about 1/10th of the white vote — less than his party’s white nominee in 2004, Sen. John F. Kerry, who waged a far weaker campaign than Obama. Kerry won 19% of the white vote in Alabama and 14% in Mississippi.

The gap was even bigger in Louisiana, where Obama won 14% of the white vote, down from Kerry’s 24%.

“How can [conservatives] make this case, when the effete Massachusetts liberal with a rich foreign wife who loves windsurfing and spandex got more white votes in Mississippi — in much less negative economic circumstances — than a highly popular candidate who was as hot as can be?” asked David Bositis, an expert on racial voting patterns at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Overall, Obama won just one in four white votes in the areas covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is the provision being challenged in the Texas case, while he took nearly half of the white vote nationally….

The 15th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, says the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied … by any state on account of race.” Yet blacks were largely denied the right to vote in the South for another century. County registrars controlled the voter rolls, and they used various schemes, including literacy tests and poll taxes, to prevent blacks from registering….

Obama and his administration reject the conservatives’ arguments.

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who is black, vowed in Selma last week to protect the voting rights law, which he said was “under attack.” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that even as Obama acknowledges “tremendous progress” since the Voting Rights Act was enacted, “he does not presume that his election or those advancements have wiped out the need for laws that protect the voting rights of all Americans.”

Federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act is most important in small towns and rural counties across the South, said Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project in Atlanta. The law requires changes in election districts and procedures to be cleared in advance by the Justice Department….

Congress voted in 2006 to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the Texas challengers who say the law is no longer needed.

Asked what would happen if the provision was rolled back, Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor who compiled voter data in a court brief, said: “It’s like removing the police presence from what had been a high-crime area. You don’t know what would happen.”

If racism really is a thing of the past (and it is not, of course), then why are the Repugnicans so adamant that the Voting Rights Act be killed? If the act is superfluous, then it’s superfluous, and no harm is done, but the only reason to want to kill the act is so that it no longer has to be followed.

That Obama won the vote of only one in four white voters covered by the Voting Rights Act — that speaks volumes, I think.

Further, as I have written before, the mixed-race Obama is half-white and half-black and is not the descendant of black American slaves (his father was from Kenya). As even Vice President Joseph Biden once infamously indicated, Obama acts like a white guy. No “angry” black man like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson — both fully black descendants of black American slaves — would have been elected president in November.

And Obama was boosted greatly by the fact that George W. Bush was the worst “president” in at least recent American history (the last four decades or so, or at least since Repugnican Richard Nixon). Bush never legitimately was elected, he started the bogus Vietraq War, and he plunged the national economy into the ground, leaving his successor a record federal budget deficit, just like his daddy did.

In short, Bush’s stunning failures as “president” in large part, I think, made the much more presidential Obama’s mixed-race heritage a non-issue in a good number of American voters’ minds.

The Voting Rights Act should stand.

Obama’s election is no “proof” that racism is a thing of the past.

Obama believes so himself.

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