[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 24
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
T.F. Mitchell


Out of Left Field | Commentary by Charlie Vignola
| Monday, Mar 4, 2013

charlievignolaThe Supreme Court of the United States took up a challenge last week to the Voting Rights Act, which passed during the height of the Civil Rights movement to address the Southern states’ long, disgusting history of disenfranchising black voters. Predictably, the five conservative justices had problems with it, as they seem to have with any law that protects minorities or the underclass.

What was interesting was that based on the conservative justices’ comments, we learned several things that should be pretty big news: that the problem of racism in Southern states doesn’t really exist anymore; that the Voting Rights Act is an unfair “racial entitlement”; and that Congress can’t be trusted to pass laws that deal with race because they’re too fearful to vote against them.

At issue is Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, which says certain Southern states and other jurisdictions that have a history of racial discrimination must submit any changes to their voting laws to the federal government to ensure they are not designed to disenfranchise voters.

Back in the bad old days, Southern states were notorious for trying to suppress the black vote with illegal literacy tests, poll taxes and other ham-fisted gambits designed to keep people of color from the polls. As a long-overdue response, Congress finally got its act together in 1965 and passed the Voting Rights Act, now considered one of the most successful pieces of legislation in U.S. history.

Why is this law now being challenged when it’s been so effective for so long? Because Shelby, Ala., has decided that the law – specifically Section Five – is an undue burden on the Southern states, and that the law has outlived its usefulness since (snicker) there’s no bigotry in the South anymore.

Well, of course there’s no bigotry in the South anymore; if you listen to conservatives, bigotry in America is a wildly overblown threat, like global warming and gun violence. Hell, we just elected a black president to a second term in office, so if that’s not proof that we’ve officially overcome racism in America, what more do you want?

You see, racism has nothing to do with the scurrilous rumors that President Obama is really a Kenyan-born Muslim, which is believed by one-third of Republican voters. Racism has nothing to do with a 400-percent rise in death threats against the first black president; that’s just a coincidence. It’s also just a coincidence that the first black president lost every former Confederate state in the last two elections, and that Republicans still rely on Nixon’s racially charged “Southern strategy” to cobble together enough electoral votes to stay competitive on a national level.

Conservatives who want to get rid of Section Five of the Voting Rights Act say the law still contains a Section Two, which allows people to challenge any laws that smack of racial discrimination.

Granted, they’ll have to find lawyers to defend them and launch expensive lawsuits that could drag on for years, and the votes they were initially deprived of can’t be restored – but hey, there’s still a mechanism in place to deal with the most egregious violators, and that should be good enough.

In other words, conservatives want to shift the burden away from those historically bigoted Southern states and onto the backs of the disenfranchised voters to prove actual discrimination at their own time and expense. Once again, whether they’re making it tougher for unions to organize, or to sue doctors for malpractice, or to file class-action lawsuits against greedy corporations, Republicans are always on the side that’s against the little guy.

It’s worth noting that Congress just passed a 25-year extension to the Voting Rights Act in 2006 with unanimous support. Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Justice Scalia. Based on his comments, Scalia believes Congress only passed the law out of habit because too many congressmen are cowards, afraid of the political consequences of voting against a law designed to fight racism, so they need Sheriff Scalia and the Supreme Court to set things right.

Scalia can magically read the minds of politicians, and the only way to address this travesty is for the justices to step in and overturn congressional legislation – which is the very definition of judicial activism.

This isn’t surprising, coming from the same conservative-majority Supreme Court so devoutly concerned about states’ rights that it felt perfectly comfortable interceding in Florida’s affairs during 2000’s “Bush v. Gore” and overruling Florida’s Supreme Court to install a president against the majority will of the voters.

Then again, this general behavior isn’t so surprising, coming from the same party that attempted to pass a slew of new voter-suppression laws in anticipation of the 2012 election, hoping they could depress turnout among Democratic-leaning voters and thus swing the presidential election in the Republicans’ favor.

Their coordinated national attempt failed miserably, so now the right is rolling out Phase 2, which has already included an abortive attempt to reapportion electoral votes within individual states in an effort to move the goal posts and give conservatives an unfair advantage.

Based on the five conservative justices’ deeply skeptical questions last week, it appears Section Five of the Voting Rights Act may indeed be on the chopping block, and Southern states will once again be free to resume newer, more cleverly constructed attempts to discriminate against voters of color.

The right might win this battle, but if history is an indicator, they will lose the war – and with it, any chance to woo back the minorities they need if they ever hope to win a national election again.

 

Charlie Vignola describes himself as a former College Republican turned liberal Democrat.  A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1999, he works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

4 Comments

  1. Scott says:

    The Constitution is very clear: the States, and the States *alone* have the authority to choose their Electors and representatives in Congress. For the Feds to step in you need a truly compelling state interest, and as SCOTUS has demonstrated, that time has passed. The section will be stricken, and correctly so. It doesn’t mean that there’s zero racism, but the provable levels of disenfranchisement as a result of state law is now much too small to justify the Feds overstepping their clearly stated Constitutional constraints.

  2. B K says:

    Not sure why I wasted my time reading such a pile of crap!!! If you stuck with the argument against the fact that racism doesn’t exist you hold creedence and merit. Sadly, this is a problem that goes in all directions. I do recall images of Black Panthers holding bats in front of polling locations in Philadelphia. However, you lose creedence when you move the argument, attacking a political party for its mere existance.

    To accuse the Republican Party of interferring in the Florida vote by stating the court went against “the majority of voters” is so laughable. You sir need to read up on the Electoral College. If you wish to bring-up a debate on its merits, by all means do so. (It goes both ways)
    You also return to the argument that voters voted against President Obama merely because he is black. I wouldn’t deny that some are the case (again, sadly that goes both directions). However, many choose not to vote for President Obama based on his ultra-liberal stance. But alas that seems to always be ignored. I find those comments racist in themselves, presumptive racism. Bullying by cowardly accusing those that choose not to vote for him as boiled down to one thing – skin color!
    You and Mr. Zaring are so phony in your comments “former Republican”! Not one statement aligns with conservatism – easily seen through.

  3. Ajay Jain says:

    “The BIBLE”, the mini-series on HISTORY channel starting 3/3/13 Sundays at 7pm CT coming from Mark Burnett has got to be really good. It is on HISTORY Channel starting on 3/3/13 on Sundays 7 pm CT Channel 55 on TWC Time Warner Cable. Check out the latest Bible trailer by going here: http://histv.co/XZmj4s What are you most looking forward to watching in the series premiere on 3.3.13 at 8/7c? On HISTORY channel 55 on Time Warner Cable (TWC).

  4. Barnabus Collins says:

    Silly liberal – voting itself isn’t a Constitutional right. Wherever you received your degree from … I urge you to consider demanding your money back. http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html#vote

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Science progresses in incremental steps. How long did it take to realize Earth was not the center of the universe, or what goes up must come down? Science is slow, like watching molasses flow or grass grow.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Have you ever had a friend or loved one say, “Gee, I can’t wait to get older so I can go to a nursing home?”
Friday, May 22, 2020
Medicare covers tests with no out-of-pocket costs. You can get tested in your home, doctor’s office, a local pharmacy or hospital, a nursing home, or a drive-through site. Medicare does not require a doctor’s order for you to get tested.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Known for his futuristic extrapolation of present-day events, the coronavirus pandemic would have been a gold mine for Ray Bradbury's imagination.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Getting older and less mobile while lying in bed tends to decrease lung expansion. For nursing home residents, does this make them more susceptible to viral or bacterial pneumonia?
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
He is bedridden, suffering from diabetes and a stroke. She has an autoimmune disease that is decimating her body. Both have been hospitalized several times in the recent past.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Sunday 940 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new deaths due to the virus countywide, with a total of 1,081 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since the pandemic began.
Sunday COVID-19 Roundup: 1,081 Cases in SCV, 92,710 Statewide
Richard Keysor, the 1989 Santa Clarita Valley Man of the Year, died at his home in Santa Clarita on May 20. He was 91.
Richard Keysor, 1989 SCV Man of Year, Dies at 91
Science progresses in incremental steps. How long did it take to realize Earth was not the center of the universe, or what goes up must come down? Science is slow, like watching molasses flow or grass grow.
The Magic Pill | Doctor’s Diary with Dr. Gene Dorio
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
T.F. Mitchell
Lawrence Russell was already running when he received the ball with 4.8 seconds remaining in the first round of the 2018 NAIA national tournament.
Former Mustang Lawrence Russell Inks Deal to Play Professional Ball in Canada
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday 1,032 new cases of COVID-19 and 41 new deaths due to the virus countywide, with a total of 1,063 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since the pandemic began.
Saturday COVID-19 Roundup: 1,063 SCV Cases, 90,631 Statewide
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) has announced the launch of Virtual Senior Day presented by Chipotle, a social initiative that recognizes high school seniors who missed out on their final season of lacrosse due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Lacrosse League, Chipotle to Honor Saugus LAX’s Graduating Athletes
The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees will hold a video/teleconference business meeting Wednesday, May 27, at 1:30 p.m.
May 27: COC Board of Trustees Virtual Business Meeting
Hertz announced Friday it and certain of its U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Hertz Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
Have you ever had a friend or loved one say, “Gee, I can’t wait to get older so I can go to a nursing home?”
Vacation Spots for Seniors | Doctor’s Diary with Dr. Gene Dorio
On Friday, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Miranda, Councilmember Bob Kellar and City Manager Ken Striplin met virtually with Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger to address the requested variance for North County cities to reopen at a pace appropriate for their communities.
City Officials, Barger Discuss Variance for Reopening Santa Clarita
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Thursday a new collaborative online campaign, “Advance SEL in California,” to engage educators, school leaders, and families in a wider conversation about how to advance, elevate, and spur action on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in California.
California Education Department Launches Social, Emotional Learning Initiative
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced on Friday it is offering additional extensions to noncommercial driver licenses and permits so Californians can delay or avoid a DMV office visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DMV Announces Additional Extensions for Expiring Driver Licenses
Temperatures in parts of Los Angeles County are expected to rise into the 90s next week. As a result, several public facilities located throughout the County will open and serve as Emergency Cooling Centers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.
County to Open Cooling Centers as L.A. Braces for Heat Wave
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) forecast, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Sunday, May 24.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV Sunday
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]
American Theater
Multi-Grammy award-winning Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh will debut “The Joe Walsh Old-Fashioned Rock 'n' Roll Radio Show” on 88.5-FM on Saturday, May 23, at 6 p.m.
May 23: Grammy-Winner Joe Walsh Debuts ‘Old-Fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio’ on 88.5-FM
In advance of the Memorial Day weekend holiday, Los Angeles County has given a green light to car parades, opened beach bike paths, and allowed indoor malls that provide curbside service to open for business.
L.A. County Opens Beach Bike Paths, Indoor Malls with Curbside; OK’s Car Parades
Los Angeles County residents ready to walk down the aisle need wait no more: Residents can now purchase a marriage license and have their civil ceremony on the same video conference call, the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk announced.
L.A. County Lets Couples Say ‘I Do’ in Virtual Marriage Ceremony
California Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) has sent a letter to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors urging the Board to approve a motion allowing for regional control of COVID-19 related reopening of businesses.
Wilk Backs North L.A. County Cities’ Request for Regional Control
At 12 noon on Thursday, Santa Clarita Transit operators participated in the national “Sound the Horn” event by simultaneously sounding their horns in a display of appreciation for frontline workers.
Santa Clarita Transit Operators ‘Sound the Horn’
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 1,072 new cases of COVID-19 and 35 new deaths due to the virus countywide, with a total of 1,034 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since the pandemic began.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 1,034 Cases in SCV, 88,444 Statewide
The Santa Clarita Public Library is now offering modified passport services by appointment only outside the Old Town Newhall Library at the double doors leading into the Newhall Community Room on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City Now Offering Passport Services by Appointment at OTN Library
The White House on Friday cited Los Angeles as a major hot spot -- one of three -- for COVID-19 outbreaks in America, prompting L.A. County officials to tout the improvement of certain metrics in recent days.
White House Cites L.A. County as COVID-19 Hot Spot
%d bloggers like this: