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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:14 PM
Original message
Voting rights lawsuit started in Austin garage
AAS 4/26/09
Voting rights lawsuit started in Austin garage
Supreme Court case involves moving utility district polling place 3 blocks.

Anderson Cooper's people recently phoned Jack Stueber about sending a CNN crew to his suburban Austin garage, joining a media pilgrimage to what might be the least likely racial battleground in America.

This Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case from Stueber's neighborhood that could redefine the Voting Rights Act of 1965, landmark legislation that outlawed decades of ballot-box discrimination against minorities.

At stake is Section 5 of the act, which forces places with a history of discrimination, including Texas, to prove to the U.S. Justice Department that any change in voting practices does not harm minority interests.

Supporters praise the neighborhood for challenging what they call an outdated response to the nation's bigoted past particularly now that an African American man occupies the White House.

I love that the VRA challengers use the proof that racism is obviously over since the US elected an African American to the White House.

Not true, because you see all the states that come under Section 5 of the VRA didn't provide any electors that voted for Obama. Maybe when every Section 5 VRA state - Texas, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina actually provide their electoral votes to an African-American, we'll talk. :P

This one makes me very nervous since I don't trust the current SCOTUS to do the right thing. :scared:


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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:28 PM
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1. Interesting comment on AAS from someone
This is a textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit. As a long-time resident of Canyon Creek, I can assure you that no one here has been harmed by the existing law and that this effort is a self-serving attempt by political zealots (i.e., lunatics) to make a name for themselves. After the MUD double taxation issue was resolved by the mayor, Sen Watson, and Rep Strama, then this crew of thugs had to create a way to make themselves feel important. I cannot imagine how many tax dollars will be wasted defending this attack on existing federal law. The bill should go directly to the so-called MUD leaders who are pushing their personal agendas.

And another poster who claims to live in this MUD also, says they obviously they got pre-clearance since they have been voting in the elementary school for years now.

So it looks like Don Zimmerman the Republican activist is just playing by the Karl Rove playbook. This isn't even that important to the MUD residents it's just a way for Don and his vote suppressing Republican party to undermine the VRA in the rest of the South.


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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-29-09 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. SCOUTS agruments this morning
Here is a pdf file of the preliminary transcript from this morning's case.

A an audio tape of the case from CSPAN here.

I hate Scalia, I really, really hate him. I don't think Roberts is going to vote to uphold the VRA either. Kennedy is even doubtful if I read him correctly.


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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-30-09 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
3. Racist schemes called for Voting Rights Act
Houston Chronicle 4/28/09
Racist schemes called for Voting Rights Act

Ruling opened door for Barbara Jordan

Jordan had already benefited from a Supreme Court ruling that thwarted one of the stiffest barriers to minority representation.

Until 1965, state representatives in large urban counties in Texas all ran countywide for a place on the ballot.

That meant that the same white majority elected all 12 Harris County state representatives. Jordan ran twice and lost both times.

But a 1962 Supreme Court ruling outlawed this scheme, and additionally required Texas to draw state Senate districts roughly equal in population. This gave Harris County three senators and part of a fourth instead of just one.

Jordan promptly won one of the Senate seats.


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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-30-09 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
4. SCOTUS blog & The US Constitution blog analysis
Edited on Thu Apr-30-09 10:39 AM by sonias
US Constitution blog post 4/29/09
Second-Guessing the Voting Rights Act: Analysis of Oral Argument in NAMUDNO
It became fairly clear during argument that to the extent the statutory bail out argument was attractive to the Justices at all, it was not for its merit, but only because accepting the argument might allow the Justices to avoid the constitutional questionor at least help them avoid creating a giant constitutional mess. As attractive as side-stepping a messy constitutional question might be, however, it doesnt appear likely that the Justices will find that the utility district has the right to bail out of the pre-clearance provisions. (Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts began the days questioning with the observation that the utility districts statutory bailout argument didnt fit with the actual terms of the statute and Justice Kennedy suggested that it was unworkable).

Once it became clear that ruling on bailout probably wouldnt save them from confronting the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act extension, the Justices focused on the evidence Congress marshaled in support of that extension in 2006. Justice Breyer forcefully summarized the record before Congress, noting that the pre-clearance provisions prevented thousands of discriminatory voting changes from going into effect, that successful lawsuits alleging discriminatory voting practices continue to be brought, and that, while progress has been made, pre-clearance appears to have had a significant deterrent effect. On the other side, Justices Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy criticized Congress for failing to conduct a comprehensive, state-by-state analysis to justify applying pre-clearance requirements only to the mostly-southern states that are covered by those requirements, arguing that there was no sufficient reason given for why Georgia should be subject to these burdens while Ohio was not. Or, as Chief Justice Roberts accusingly phrased the question to Debo Adegbile, counsel for NAACP LDF and other defendant-interveners, is Congress saying southerners are more likely to discriminate than northerners?

Mr. Adegbile didn't fall into Robert's trap question and said he wouldn't say that. But he did say if you take the totality of the picture - the historical record in total.

SCOTUS/blog 4/29/09
Sec. 5: Searching for a way out


With Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voicing concern over Congress intruding on the sovereignty of some states but not others, the Supreme Court on Wednesday looked for ways to put some check on federal management of state and local elections systems even when that power is used to assure minorities voting rights.

The Courts oral argument on the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 showed vividly that Kennedy almost surely holds the decisive vote. And, just as clearly, he put his concerns about the law on full display, talking of the burdens on the states and the differing treatment of them, even while saying that no one questions the essentiality of some federal role against racial bias in voting procedures.

Doesn't look good. :(

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