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Tag Archives: voting rights

It is Time to Remove Sessions

It is time for Congress to take up the issue of the removal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The legal basis for doing so is comprehensive –

  1. Jeff Sessions perjured himself in testimony about his Russian meetings before Congress
  2. There is is direct evidence of multiple meetings between Sessions and Trump’s Russian ally on at least 2 occasions, and possibly 3-4. None of these meetings as Sessions has claimed (again – perjury) had anything to do with his role as Senator
  3. Sessions stonewalled Congress using the legally non-existent justification of his non-existent Executive Privilege in testimony this week. For the Attorney General to use an unconstitutional and illegal tactic to cover up in testimony is another form of perjury
  4. Sessions was part of the Chumph’s team decision to fire Comey, violating his statement of “recusal” from the Trump-Russia collusion investigation

Democrats should make Sessions removal an absolute priority, and should be using any method necessary to short circuit Sessions dismantling og Civil Rights and along with it Voting Rights.

The Sessions is doing his best to protect his white supremacist and KKK favorites.

Trump administration quietly rolls back civil rights efforts across federal government

Image result for sessions kkk

or decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious.

Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight.

The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement. Other departments have scaled back the power of their internal divisions that monitor such abuses. In a previously unreported development, the Education Department last week reversed an Obama-era reform that broadened the agency’s approach to protecting rights of students. The Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have also announced sweeping cuts to their enforcement.

“At best, this administration believes that civil rights enforcement is superfluous and can be easily cut. At worst, it really is part of a systematic agenda to roll back civil rights,” said Vanita Gupta, the former acting head of the DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama.

Consent decrees have not been abandoned entirely by the DOJ, a person with knowledge of the instructions said. Instead, there is a presumption against their use — attorneys should default to using settlements without court oversight unless there is an unavoidable reason for a consent decree. The instructions came from the civil rights division’s office of acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler and Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore. There is no written policy guidance.

Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for the DOJ, declined to comment for this story.

Consent decrees can be a powerful tool, and spell out specific steps that must be taken to remedy the harm. These are agreed to by both parties and signed off on by a judge, whom the parties can appear before again if the terms are not being met. Though critics say the DOJ sometimes does not enforce consent decrees well enough, they are more powerful than settlements that aren’t overseen by a judge and have no built-in enforcement mechanism.

Such settlements have “far fewer teeth to ensure adequate enforcement,” Gupta said.

Consent decrees often require agencies or municipalities to take expensive steps toward reform. Local leaders and agency heads then can point to the binding court authority when requesting budget increases to ensure reforms. Without consent decrees, many localities or government departments would simply never make such comprehensive changes, said William Yeomans, who spent 26 years at the DOJ, mostly in the civil rights division.

“They are key to civil rights enforcement,” he said. “That’s why Sessions and his ilk don’t like them.”…

On March 31, Sessions ordered a sweeping review of all consent decrees with troubled police departments nationwide to ensure they were in line with the Trump administration’s law-and-order goals. Days before, the DOJ had asked a judge to postpone a hearing on a consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department that had been arranged during the last days of the Obama administration. The judge denied that request, and the consent decree has moved forward.

The DOJ has already come under fire from critics for altering its approach to voting rights cases. After nearly six years of litigation over Texas’ voter ID law — which Obama DOJ attorneys said was written to intentionally discriminate against minority voters and had such a discriminatory effect — the Trump DOJ abruptly withdrew its intent claims in late February….More

 

 

 

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“Walk With Me” – How Judge Damon J. Keith Reshaped America

Judge Damon J. Keith isn’t that well known, and isn’t lauded by most historians. However his impact on Civil Rights, and the Civil Rights of all Americans is incredible. Back in 1992, when the Bush Administration dragged Uncle Tommy Clarence out from under his porch such as to fill the “Black seat” on the Supreme Court left by Thurgood Marshall – Judge Keith was one a dozen or so black Jurists whose qualification far exceeded that of Uncle Tommie.

There is a lesson in courage and determination here I hope the young folks in BLM appreciate and emulate. The way things are shaping up in this country with the Chumph and his violent racist crew…We are going to need it.

 

‘I don’t scare easily’: A 94-year-old judge’s refusal to bow to racism, death threats

Long before federal judge Damon Keith became known as a “crusader for justice,” he was a new Howard University Law School graduate working as a janitor while he studied for the bar exam.

It was 1949, and Keith cleaned the bathrooms at The Detroit News, his hometown newspaper. One day, Keith recalled, he was leaning against a wall in the men’s room with a law dictionary in his hands when he was interrupted.

“What are you reading?” a white reporter asked him.

Keith, the grandson of slaves and a World War II veteran, told the reporter he was studying the law dictionary to prepare for the bar exam.

“What for?” the man asked.

“I’m going to be a lawyer,” Keith responded.

The reporter laughed.

“A black lawyer?” he asked incredulously. “You better keep on mopping.”

Keith, now 94 and still serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, recounted that story two weeks ago in a Howard University moot courtroom, where students, lawyers, his former clerks and a Supreme Court nominee gathered to watch a new documentary about his life, “Walk with Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith.”

The following day, the legendary judge sat in the front row as President Obama and black luminaries from across the country celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian’s new African American Museum of History and Culture.

Keith, one of the oldest federal jurists in the country, has been handing down important rulings on racial discrimination, presidential power and other contentious legal issues for nearly 50 years. And he shows no signs of retiring. He’s at his chambers each day by 9 a.m., where the first thing he does is read his Bible, he said. He works until about 5:30 pm.

Last month he issued a scathing 38-page dissent in an Ohio voting rights case, accusing two colleagues on the 6th Circuit Court of turning their backs on African American voters likely to be impacted by restrictions on early and absentee voting. He included photos and biographies of 36 people who died during the long struggle for civil rights and equal protection, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till.

“By denying the most vulnerable the right to vote,” he wrote, “the Majority shuts minorities out of our political process. Rather than honor the men and women whose murdered lives opened the doors of our democracy and secured our right to vote, the Majority has abandoned this court’s standard of review in order to conceal the votes of the most defenseless behind the dangerous veneers of factual findings lacking support and legal standards lacking precedent.”

He also warned: “The unfettered right to vote is the bedrock of a free and democratic society—without it, such a society cannot stand.”

Then he created even more of a stir by giving an interview to Slate lamenting “the racist attitude of the majority” and mentioning his two colleagues on the panel, John Rogers and Danny Boggs.

He doesn’t apologize for calling them out by name.

“I thought the panel’s decision was racist,” he told The Post. He noted that his grandparents couldn’t vote in Georgia. His fellow judges, he said, “don’t know what we’ve gone through. They don’t know what I’ve gone through.”

Keith learned the power of the law — and of dissent — when he was student at Howard, where future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of his professors…Read the rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter, Giant Negros

 

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In Baltimore Ex-Felons Rock the Vote

Not sure there are enough ex-felons in the City of Baltimore to change the traditional political fault lines, but it at least is a beginning in restoring the rights to a group of folks who may be able to build the foundations of a new life after incarceration.

Tearing another piece of that New Jim Crow down so beloved by Republicans as a means to suppress voters of color.

In Baltimore, ex-felons cherish newfound right to vote

On the November night in 2008 when the nation elected its first black president, wild celebrations broke out in west Baltimore. But when Perry Hopkins jumped up from the steps of the Chinese takeout where he was sitting and tried to join the party, he was quickly put in his place.

“Somebody looked at me and said: You got a record, you can’t vote. You ain’t got nothing to do with this, you can’t claim this,” Hopkins recalled. “And it hurt.”

A wiry, intense 54-year-old, Hopkins has been barred from voting thanks to an extensive criminal history that he attributes to a past addiction problem. “I’ve done five years three times, and four years once, so I’ve got roughly 20 years on the installment plan,” he said. “I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”

Of being disenfranchised, Hopkins said: “I felt like my hands were tied behind my back and I was being beaten.”

Now that feeling is gone. On Thursday, Hopkins cast his first votes ever in Maryland’s presidential and mayoral primaries. (He won’t say for whom he voted.) And as an organizer for Communities United, a local community group, he rounded up scores of his neighbors — many of them also former felons — and drove them in a van to the polls, too. “Hey, come vote!” Hopkins was shouting to anyone who would listen Thursday as he stood at a busy intersection, loading up another van with people.

In February, prodded by a grassroots campaign by Communities United and other voting rights and civil rights groups, Maryland restored voting rights to people with felony convictions as soon as they’re released from prison — re-enfranchising an estimated 40,000 predominantly African-American Marylanders. Previously, they’d had to wait until they had completed probation or parole. Democratic lawmakers overrode a veto by Maryland’s Republican governor to push the measure into law. Communities United says it’s registered about 1300 new voters since the law passed.

The move was perhaps the biggest victory yet for a nationwide movement to scrap or weaken felon disenfranchisement laws, which shut nearly 6 million Americans, disproportionately non-white, out of the political process.

Reginald Smith, who was in prison for 14 years after voting at an early voting site for the first time “in a long time.”

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffeannounced an executive order that re-enfranchises more than 200,000 felons, a move that could boost Democrats in the crucial swing state this November. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week signed a law that softens that state’s felon voting ban. And a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, expected imminently, could dramatically reduce the number of crimes that lead to disenfranchisement there.

In Maryland, opponents of the change argued that it makes sense to require former felons to complete their full sentence — meaning probation or parole — before getting their rights back. But several of the newly re-enfranchised who Hopkins ferried to the polls Thursday said emphatically that the right to vote was itself a powerful spur toward reintegrating back into society.

“Not being able to vote was hindering me from actually being considered as a full citizen, and it was hindering my whole rehabilitation process,” said Reginald Smith, moments after voting for the first time in decades. “Because I was still being punished for something that I already served time for.”

“Being able to vote, it just makes me feel that much more positive about myself,” said Robert Mackin, 54, shortly before he cast the first ballot of his life. (Who did Mackin plan to vote for? “I sure know it ain’t gonna be no Trump.”)…Read the Rest Here…

 

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Va Gov Restores Voting Rights to Felons

Republicans hate this, especially sine the vast majority of people incarcerated at the state level under “Get tough on…” knee jerk laws have been black. Incarcerating black folks was a key to Jim Crow in eliminating the possibility of blacks voting. No different than under the New Jim Crow Voter ID Laws.

Va Governor McAuliffe is a close Clinton ally, so this may presage a larger effort should Hillary Clinton win the Presidency.

If it is true that 1 in 5 black men in Virginia is disenfranchised, and will ultimately allowed to vote…It is the death of the Republican Party in statewide and federal Senate elections in the state, as the difference in the last few elections has only been less than 100,000 votes.

Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing the Republican-run legislature. The action overturns a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans.

The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole or probation to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.

Amid intensifying national attention over harsh sentencing policies that have disproportionately affected African-Americans, governors and legislatures around the nation have been debating — and often fighting over — moves to restore voting rights for convicted felons.

In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin, a newly elected Republican, recently overturned an order enacted by his Democratic predecessor that was similar to the one Mr. McAuliffe signed Friday. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a measure to restore voting rights to convicted felons, but Democrats in the state legislature overrode him in February and an estimated 44,000 former prisoners who are on probation are now eligible to register for voting.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” Mr. McAuliffe said in an interview Thursday, previewing the announcement he made on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, just yards from where President Abraham Lincoln once addressed freed slaves. “We should do it as soon as we possibly can.”

The action, which Mr. McAuliffe said was justified under an expansive legal interpretation of his executive clemency authority, provoked an immediate backlash from Virginia Republicans. They issued a statement Friday accusing the governor of “political opportunism” and “a transparent effort to win votes.”

“Those who have paid their debts to society should be allowed full participation in society,” said the statement from the party chairman, John Whitbeck. “But there are limits.” He said Mr. McAuliffe was wrong to issue a blanket restoration of rights, even to those who “committed heinous acts of violence.”

Friday’s shift in Virginia is part of a national trend toward restoring voter rights to felons, based in part on the hope that it will aid former prisoners’ re-entry into society. Over the last two decades about 20 states have acted to ease their restrictions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Only two states — Maine and Vermont — have no voting restrictions on felons. On the other side, 12 states disenfranchise felons after they have completed probation or parole, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington policy organization that advocates restoring felons’ voting rights.

Virginia has been one of four states — the others are Kentucky, Florida and Iowa — that impose the harshest restrictions, a lifetime ban on voting for felons. The Sentencing Project says one in five African-Americans in Virginia cannot vote….The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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That One Senator Who Endorses Donald Drumph

So…Who would be the first US Senator to endorse Drumph?

Sen Sessions (R), Al – Endorses Donald Drumph

The First Senator to Endorse Donald Trump Is a Longtime Opponent of Civil Rights

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions has a long history of making racist statements and falsely prosecuting black activists for voter fraud.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is facing new scrutiny for refusing to disavow an endorsement from KKK leader David Duke. But over the weekend Trump received another endorsement, from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, that should also be cause for concern.

During a rally in Madison, Alabama, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III became the first US Senator to endorse Trump. Like the Confederate general he is named after, Sessions has long been a leading voice for the Old South and the conservative white backlash vote Trump is courting. Sessions has been the fiercest opponent in the Senate of immigration reform, a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, and has a long history of opposition to civil rights, dating back to his days as a US Attorney in Alabama in the 1980s. The Senate rejected Sessions for a federal judgeship during the Reagan administration because of racist statements he made and for falsely prosecuting black political activists in Alabama.

Here’s the backstory:

On March 7, 1965, Albert Turner, a tall, sturdy bricklayer from Marion, Alabama, walked directly behind John Lewis during the infamous Bloody Sunday march in Selma. When Lewis fell from the force of police blows, so did Turner. “I fell down and ran,” he said. “Then I fell down again and ran some more.”

After the passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Turner became known as “Mr. Voter Registration,” working as Alabama field secretary for Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. After King’s assassination, Turner led the mule wagon that carried King’s body through the streets of Atlanta.

Because of Turner’s work, African-Americans gained political control of many counties in the Alabama Black Belt, where you could practically count the number of black voters on one hand in 1965. But the flourishing of black political power in the Black Belt didn’t sit well with the old white power structure.

In the Democratic primary of September 1984, FBI agents hid behind the bushes of the Perry County post office, waiting for Turner and fellow activist Spencer Hogue to mail 500 absentee ballots on behalf of elderly black voters. When Turner and Hogue left, the feds seized the envelopes from the mail slots. Twenty elderly black voters from Perry County were bused three hours to Mobile, where they were interrogated by law enforcement officials and forced to testify before a grand jury. Ninety-two-year-old Willie Bright was so frightened of “the law” that he wouldn’t even admit he’d voted.

In January 1985, Sessions, the 39-year-old US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, charged Turner, his wife Evelyn and Hogue with twenty-nine counts of mail fraud, altering absentee ballots and conspiracy to vote more than once. They faced over one hundred years in jail on criminal charges and felony statutes under the VRA–provisions of the law that had scarcely been used to prosecute the white officials who had disenfranchised blacks for so many years. The Turners and Hogue became known as the Marion Three. (This story is best told in Lani Guinier’s book Lift Every Voice.)

The trial was held in Selma, of all places. The jury of seven blacks and five whites deliberated for less than three hours before returning a not guilty verdict on all counts.

Four months later, the Reagan Administration, to the astonishment of civil rights supporters, nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship on the District Court of Alabama. “Mr. Sessions role in the voting fraud case in Alabama alone should bar him from sitting on the bench,” Ted Kennedy said.

Albert Turner’s brother flew to Washington from Perry County to oppose Sessions. In a highly unusual move, attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also testified against him. Gerry Hebert told Congress that Sessions, had called the NAACP and ACLU “Communist-inspired” and “un-American,” and labeled the white civil rights lawyer Jim Blacksher “a disgrace to his race.” Thomas Figures, a black assistant US attorney in Mobile, said that Sessions had repeatedly referred to him as “boy.” Figures said he heard from colleagues that Sessions “used to think [the KKK] were OK” until he learned that were “pot smokers.” Sessions admitted to calling the VRA a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

A bipartisan coalition of senators sunk Sessions’ nomination, making him the first Reagan judicial nominee rejected by the Senate. Democratic Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama, who’d been elected with large black support, cast the decisive swing vote. “My conscience is not clear,” Heflin said, “and I must vote no.”

But Sessions hardly reformed his views after he was elected to the Senate in 1996. He frequently earned an “F” rating from civil rights groups like the NAACP and “consistently opposed the bread-and-butter civil rights agenda,” Hillary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington office, told The New Republic. He voter to reauthorize the VRA in 2006 but praised the Supreme Court’s decision gutting the law in 2013, cluelessly saying, “if you go to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, people aren’t people denied the vote because of the color of their skin.” (He’s clearly not paying attention to veryrecent examples of voting discrimination in these states.)

 

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They Just Lost Texas!

Republican control of Texas is almost totally dependant on Voter Suppression, and Gerrymandering. Which is one of the reasons this one may have a massive impact in turning the State Blue.

The New Jim Crow, just like the Old Jim Crow – just craftier.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act

A federal appeals court on Wednesday found that Texas’ strict voter identification law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in a victory for civil rights groups who had challenged the law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit did not make a determination as to whether Texas legislators had a discriminatory purpose in passing the legislation, and sent that issue back to a lower federal court to re-evaluate the determination that it was purposefully discriminatory. But the appeals court did find that the Texas voter ID law would have a discriminatory impact, in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

In declining to find Texas legislators had a discriminatory purpose in passing the legislation, members of the appeals court said they recognized “the charged nature of accusations of racism, particularly against a legislative body,” but they also acknowledged “the sad truth that racism continues to exist in our modern American society despite years of laws designed to eradicate it.”

Because it found a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the federal appeals court declined to decide the question of whether the strict voter ID law violated constitutional rights under the First and 14th Amendments, and dismissed the claims. The court also suggested that a lower federal court could either reinstate voter registration cards as documents that allow someone to cast a ballot, or allow someone to sign an affidavit saying they do not have an acceptable form of identification before they were allowed to vote.

“We urge the parties to work cooperatively with the district court to provide a prompt resolution of this matter to avoid election eve uncertainties and emergencies,” the appeals court wrote.

Texas, which had originally been prevented from passing the law in 2011 under Republican Gov. Rick Perry, was able to quickly enact it in 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the VRA, which required the state to submit any changes to its election laws to the federal government or in federal court.

In October, a federal judge called the law an unconstitutional “poll tax” that was intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. But the Supreme Courtallowed the law to be in effect for November’s midterm election, even though more than 600,000 Texans lacked a valid form of government-issued photo identification….(More)

MLK and President Johnson Meet to Discuss Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Act

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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The Second Civil War – Voting Rights

The US civil war is playing out again – this time over voter rights

White southern Republicans enact voter ID laws because they don’t want Democrats to vote, particularly people of color. Republicans have gerrymandered districts to dissolve the Minority vote, as well as set as many impediments as possible in the way of voters.

Nearly 150 years after the end of the US civil war, the South and the federal government are poised for a rematch over the voting rights of black Americans, and ultimately over the fundamental rights of all Americans. Once again, the former Confederate states are determined to defend their traditions and way of life, while the Union forces in the North – the federal government – are positioning themselves to defend justice and equality.

But this time, in an ironic twist, two black men – President Barack Obamaand Attorney General Eric Holder – are leading the charge.

In the 1860s, the fight between the North and the South was about slavery and the right of the Confederate states to maintain a dreaded institution that kept people of African descent in bondage. Unprecedented carnage resulted.

A century later – in light of the 1954 US supreme court decision in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, which ended racial segregation in public schools – the South struggled to maintain a Jim Crow system that kept black people legally and politically impotent, all in the name of states’ rights.

Two hallmarks of the civil rights movement are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the legislative victories were achieved only through the blood of civil rights workers, both black and white, who were beaten, sprayed with fire hoses, shot, firebombed, bitten by police dogs and lynched.

The purpose of the Voting Rights Act was to apply a nationwide ban against discriminatory election practices such as literacy tests. The existing anti-discrimination laws, Congress concluded, were insufficient to overcome the Southern states’ resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment.

In June 2013, the nation’s high court cut the voting law at its knees inShelby County v Holder when it eviscerated the key component of the act – the section 4 preclearance requirement – which determined which states must receive approval from a federal court or the Justice Department before making changes to their voting procedures. The act applied to nine states – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia – and various other localities and counties across the country.

In the second decade of the 21st century, the latest battle centers around southern states with a history of voting rights violations, and currently exhibit the most anti-blackracist sentiment. These states want to employ restrictive and racially discriminatory voter suppression methods such as voter ID. This time, the Republican party has replaced the Dixiecrats as the party of white supremacy and the old Confederacy, of racial discrimination and voter suppression. And Holder has decided to make an example of Texas, firing the first shot at the Lone Star state.

Within 24 hours of the high court decision, five states – Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia – decided to move forward with their voter ID laws. They required preclearance under section 4, which no longer exists. Moreover, Holder and a federal court had already blocked the South Carolina and Texas voter ID laws because they violated the Voting Rights Act.

Florida has resumed its purge of Hispanic voters following the supreme court decision, and after a federal court lifted a ban on removing potential non-US citizens from the rolls. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is about to sign into law the nation’s most restrictive voter suppression measure, though, he admits he has not read the provisionprohibiting 16- and 17-year-olds from pre-registering to vote. The law also eliminates same-day registration, cuts early voting by a week and requires government-issued ID to vote. According to the North Carolina secretary of state, voter ID laws are having a disproportionate impact onDemocratic voters and voters of color.

SB 14, the Texas voter ID law considered the most severe in the US at present, requires Texans to prove their citizenship and state residency in order to vote, using a passport, military ID or birth certificate if they lack a driver’s license, concealed handgun license or photo ID. In 2012, a federal court struck down the Texas law on the grounds that:

The implicit costs of obtaining SB 14-qualifying ID will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. … We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to ‘retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.’

Yet, in light of the Shelby County decision, the Supreme Court discarded the lower court’s Texas voter ID ruling, and threw out a ruling that found Texas’ state redistricting maps were “enacted with discriminatory purpose” and diluted the Latino vote. Although Latinos made up nearly 40% of the Texas population in the 2010 census and accounted for 65% of the growth in the state population, Texas Republicans essentially pretended Texas is a white state. The GOP kept Latinos and black voters out of the redistricting process, added only one minority district, and manipulated an electoral map “that would look Hispanic, but perform for Anglos”.

In addition, the court found that 603,892 to 795,955 Latino voters in Texas lacked voter identification – as Texas Republicans had intended. Student IDs are not adequate identification at the polls, but gun permits are acceptable, reflected a preference for Republican constituents.

Holder announced he would ask a federal court to force the state to continue to receive permission to make changes to its voting laws. The Justice Department has requested that a federal court impose an additional 10 years of preclearance.

Governor Rick Perry said in a statement:

This end run around the supreme court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process.

Greg Abbott, the Texas state attorney general, accused Holder of “sowing racial divide” and tweeted “I’ll fight #Obama’s effort to control our elections & I’ll fight against cheating at ballot box.” Conservative proponents of voter ID measures invoke the specter of voter fraud and the need to protect the integrity of elections as justifications for the legislation. However, voter fraud is exceedingly rare, and about as infrequent as death by lightning strikes, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Rather, white southern Republicans enact voter ID laws because they do not want Democratic constituencies to vote, particularly people of color. Rather than embrace the changing demographics in the US and adopt platforms to address the needs and concerns of voters of color, Republicans have chosen to eschew these voters and wage an assault on civil rights, immigration and policies of diversity and inclusion. This is the endgame for the Republican Southern Strategy of race card politics. The GOP was able to win elections on the margins by appealing to the racial insecurities of disaffected working class whites. In the process, southern whites fled the Democratic party, and the GOP became the party of the white South. Now, this marginalized base of angry white voters is all that is left of the Republican strategy and of the GOP as well, so Republicans must remove the segments of the electorate that will not vote for them.

 

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