Mar 4, 2013
The Supreme Court is ready to toss a part of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 into the dumpster. They are hearing a suit brought by Shelby County, Alabama, to allow Shelby County to make its own voter-eligibility rules, outside of federal oversight.
The Court’s reactionary attitude was on belligerent display when Justice Antonin Scalia asked if Section 5 of the Act wasn’t an extension of “racial entitlement.” As if he weren’t sitting up there as a prime example of “entitlement” himself! He could just as well be saying, “Let’s go back to the Old South when only white male property owners like me could vote!”
It’s been a long while since judges and other officials who thought these things in private would utter them in public. The civil rights movement, and even more importantly the major urban rebellions of the mid-1960s, forced racists to shut their traps and pretend to be on the side of equality and progress, if they wanted any political future. Clearly we need to shut their traps again!
To stop courts and legislators from chiseling away essential rights, important parts of the working class will have to display a fighting spirit once more.