In a move that Supreme Court analysts are calling the "death knell" for key enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activists are calling "devastating," the Supreme Court voted along partisan lines 5-4 to end half a century of civil rights enforcement law allowing the federal government to actively protect minority voters from discrimination at the polls. It is just the latest in a pattern of arbitrary, lawless, and partisan rulings beginning in 2000 to interfere in the electoral process on behalf of the Republican Party, but this case marks a radical escalation in the brazenness of such rulings that has sparked an unprecedented Constitutional crisis.
For the first time ever, a Constitutional Crisis has been incited by wanton abuse of power on the Supreme Court, rather than in or between the Executive and Legislative Branches. The five conservative Justices that make up the majority - Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, and Kennedy - have usurped legislative powers granted under the Constitution following the Civil War in order to clear the way for discriminatory state-level policies that will blunt the impact of minority voter turnout in 2014 that was decisive in 2012. Moreover, the transparency of the excuses used in the decision for doing so, and the fact that they contradict the rationale used in Bush v. Gore to nullify an earlier election, have only further highlighted that the Court is reaching predetermined conclusions in order to maximally advantage one political party at the expense of the legal foundations of our republic.
Although these abuses of power to interfere in elections have occurred in stark terms at least twice before - in 2000 and in the 2010 Citizens United decision striking down limits on campaign finance and declaring it legal to buy elections (thus greatly contributing to the 2010 Republican Congressional sweep) - the current action is the most nakedly criminal yet, directly attacking long-standing law and the basic political rights of millions of Americans in order to predetermine the outcome of the upcoming midterm election. Just as Barack Obama's massive financial advantages in 2008 due to small donors led directly and inexorably to the same five Justices ruling in Citizens United in 2010 to eradicate campaign finance laws limiting the power of large donors, so the decisive turnout of minority voters in 2012 has led directly and inexorably to this decision in preparation for 2014.
In the previous abuse of power, despite its also being brazen and arbitrary, we listened to the lullaby voices who said "Do nothing," "Pass legislation," "Pass a Constitutional Amendment" - basically do anything other than address the rogue partisan Court eviscerating the Constitution and nullifying elections before they even happen. What has come of that? We still have no campaign finance reform legislation nullifying Citizens United, we still have no Constitutional Amendment overcoming it, and we still have a lawless, arbitrary, and hyperpartisan Court ruling that up is down to ensure Republican electoral advantages. So it's through that lens that the same advice must be dismissed. There will be no legislative fix to this ruling anymore than we could get the common sense gun control legislation supported by 90% of Americans passed, nor will there be any Amendment. So, are we going to simply do nothing and go back to sleep again?
I will not be party to that stupid game any longer. I will not sing the song of "I wish I had at least tried to do something" any longer. I have no intention of passively waiting for the next time these people nullify a presidential election, or rule that bribery is free speech, or that the right of states to stop minorities from voting trumps the right of the citizenry to vote against Republicans, or that Up is Down whenever Republicans want it to be but never when they don't. I have no intention of accepting as legitimate totally arbitrary and flagrantly corrupt decisions handed down by a hyperpartisan judicial dictatorship that refuses to even be bound by the logic of its own decisions, and simply rules whatever is most convenient for the electoral strategies of the GOP.
As such, I have started a petition on Change.org calling on the President and Congress to condemn the ruling in the strongest possible terms as the lawless, arbitrary, partisan abuse of power and naked attempt to determine the next election that it is, and to also call for inquiries into the impeachment of the Justices responsible. This simply cannot be tolerated anymore, if there is to be any semblance of rule of law in this country. The Judiciary, more than any other branch of government, cannot be allowed to be corrupted like this, and especially not its highest court. Every law passed by the people's elected representatives is subject to their veto or approval, and they have proven this extends even into the electoral decisions of the citizenry.
Because of the unique power of the Court, and the profound ability of a corrupted one to distort and damage the normal functioning of government, every single political problem this nation has faced since 2000 has stemmed from this majority (albeit with two of its members replaced under Bush). These so-called "Justices" only have a majority today because three of them dictated the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, and two of the current five-member majority are only on the Court because of that decision. Moreover, while Republicans may or may not have retaken the House of Representatives in 2010 without the 5-4 Citizens United decision, it's beyond question that their margins would be nowhere near what they were, and the Democratic victory in 2012 would be far beyond what it was. It is because of the Dread Pirate Roberts Court's abuses of power in that and other cases (e.g., gerrymandering) that the GOP still controls the House despite receiving fewer votes than their opponents in 2012.
We know what doing nothing gets us, and continuing to do things that don't work in the expectation of better results is the definition of madness. So I'm not interested in being told it can't be done, that it's too hard, that wah-wah-wah we're so helpless. The fact is if all we achieve is to get a significant number of people in Congress to publicly reject the ruling as an illegitimate abuse of power and condemn the Dread Pirate Roberts Court as the lawless partisan Star Chamber it is, that would at least be an improvement over the supine bubble of denial that has existed around abuses of power on the Court. It would at least put the discussion in a sane and relevant context, on the abuse of power on the Court rather than acting like this is merely just another "disappointing" ruling we "disagree" with.
Whereas acting as if the ruling were legitimate and just trying to pursue legislation would at best result in preserving most of the partisan advantages created by the ruling, and at worst, if no legislation were passed, would be the worst possible outcome because nothing would have been accomplished - neither substantive nor symbolic. It would just be history repeating itself, and that can no longer be tolerated. We've seen this game play out, and we're not going to play it anymore.
We have a chance to respond to an assault on our republic as we should, while it's happening, and not just add another notch to our list of regrets. This Court majority has miscalculated badly, and declared war on civil rights in America just for the sake of improving the GOP's electoral odds in 2014. We must act strongly and swiftly to educate them about their error. Here is the text of the petition:
Whereas the relevant provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) have been key to secure the right of millions of Americans to have a voice in their government for generations, and countless Americans have fought, suffered, and even died to secure those rights...As of my posting this, there are 34 signatories. If you support this effort, sharing the petition on social media would be helpful, as I myself don't participate in things like Facebook or Twitter and thus have no networks established on them.
Whereas those provisions of VRA have been crucial to protecting the rights of minority voters in recent years as partisan attempts to illegally suppress minority voting have intensified...
Whereas the equal right to vote is fundamental to the liberty and security of a free republic...
Whereas the current Supreme Court majority have shown a pattern and practice of issuing lawless rulings designed to radically change the laws of this nation in order to increase the electoral performance of the Republican Party...
And whereas the aforementioned ruling striking down key parts of the VRA is a nakedly partisan, lawless, and inexcusable attempt to assist Republican election efforts in 2014 by eliminating key mechanisms against minority vote suppression tactics...
It is necessary for the defense of the rule of the law, the legitimacy of the Courts, and the rights of all Americans that the President and the Congress condemn the ruling in the strongest possible terms, reject it as invalid and lawless, and immediately call for inquiries into passing articles of impeachment against Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy for abuse of power.
I shouldn't have to say this, but I guess I do: If you disagree with the basic premises of this diary and think we should do nothing or accept the ruling as part of a normal and perfectly legitimate process of law, please don't bother responding. We've been following that plan since 2000 and have gotten nowhere because of it. In fact, these people have concocted fresh outrages every single time we dare to win an election against the Party that controls them, and there have been no consequences. Enough is enough. We will not quietly sit around waiting for the next abuse of power from these crooks. We demand a Supreme Court that bases its rulings on US law, not on the electoral strategies of the Republican Party.
7:13 AM PT: Can someone other than me please volunteer to explain this to the people who still don't get it, and think this heinous, partisan, criminal assault on the Constitution is a totally legitimate and ordinary exercise of judicial authority?