WITH THE REPUBLICAN
PARTY, YOU CAN’T WIN
FOR LOSING! EVEN
100% IS NOT
WASHINGTON, DC — There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement”.
The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”
That was an unusual comment when it was made, but Scalia’s expansion on it today raises concerns that his suspicion of the Act is rooted much more in racial resentment than in a general distrust of unanimous votes. Scalia noted, when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965, it passed over 19 dissenters. In subsequent reauthorizations, the number of dissenters diminished, until it passed the Senate without dissent seven years ago. Scalia’s comments suggested that this occurred, not because of a growing national consensus that racial disenfranchisement is unacceptable, but because lawmakers are too afraid to be tarred as racists. His inflammatory claim that the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” came close to the end of a long statement on why he found a landmark law preventing race discrimination in voting to be suspicious.
It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Rights Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.
A transcript of the oral argument will be available soon, and we will post Scalia’s quote in its full context. We will also post audio of Scalia’s words when they become available.
The transcript of the oral argument is now available. Scalia’s full statement is copied below the fold:
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, maybe it was making that judgment, Mr. Verrilli. But that’s — that’s a problem that I have. This Court doesn’t like to get involved in — in racial questions such as this one. It’s something that can be left — left to Congress.
The problem here, however, is suggested by the comment I made earlier, that the initial enactment of this legislation in a — in a time when the need for it was so much more abundantly clear was — in the Senate, there — it was double-digits against it. And that was only a 5-year term.
Then, it is reenacted 5 years later, again for a 5-year term. Double-digits against it in the Senate! Then it was reenacted for 7 years. Single digits against it! Then enacted for 25 years, 8 Senate votes against it!
TABACCO: Scalia neglects to mention that these Opposition Votes were cast mainly by Bigots from the Old South (the Confederacy) – I wonder why! This is the same reason why the Voting Rights Act, (which lists specific States), must remain. I personally have never heard such a specious argument that the Law of the Land must be changed because Legislators are too afraid to vote against it because doing so might lose them Votes? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be!
And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same.
Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.
TABACCO: Repealing Prohibition (Volstead Act/18th Amendment, ratified 1919) took 14 years (Prohibition Repeal, 21st Amendment, ratified 1933). Name another Amendment that has ever been repealed!
It is also difficult to override all Constitutional Institutions. Slavery was institutionalized in the Constitution itself in 1789. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation occurred in 1863 (74 years later). (Columbus “discovered” America in 1492.) Lincoln had to win the Civil War before he could get a Constitutional Amendment, Abolishing Slavery (13th Amendment, ratified December 6, 1865).
It is basically irrelevant why former Confederate State Representatives do NOT vote against the Voting Rights Act. Hell, Mississippi just ratified the 13th Amendment (Banning Slavery) this year – 2013!
According to Scalia, all those “Guilty” Verdicts are “unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.” The key words here are “used to have”. Apparently even the Israelis have learned from their mistake, whereas Antonin Scalia will not!
I presume, from Scalia’s line of logic, that is why a Criminal Trial Jury must not vote unanimously, 12-0, to convict or apply the Death Penalty. Apparently Scalia is unfamiliar with American Jurisprudence! Unanimity is essential! You can’t get a Criminal Conviction without it! And Right-Wingers are perpetually warning against “Activist Judges” – what do they think Scalia is!
I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there’s a good reason for it.
TABACCO: Mississippi is a “good reason for it”!
That’s the — that’s the concern that those of us who — who have some questions about this statute have. It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now.
TABACCO: I note that Scalia hints at GERRYMANDERING, but does not mention it by name because that is a very slippery slope – for REPUBLICANS!
And even the Virginia Senators, they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.
TABACCO: So Justice Scalia is intent upon “saving” these legislators from themselves and voiding their Affirmative votes because a “No” vote would cause them to “lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act”? Where is the Logic in that! I thought that was the “American Way”!
Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?
TABACCO: How about the name “Patriot Act”! Who is going to vote against that in the future? And when did anyone selling anything EVER call his or her Pet Project the “Lousy Automobile”, the “DANGEROUS Detergent”, the “Abominable Law” or the “Unfair Policy“! Scalia is pontificating on the Obvious here in attempt to demean it!
Tabacco will never have a better example of Sophistry than the rhetoric uttered here by Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. Most Right-Wingers never attempt to justify their positions. They make unproven, unsubstantiated Assertions or Axioms and demand you accept what they say without question. 75% of all Axioms are dead wrong!
(See, Tabacco can play the “Unsubstantiated Assertion Game” too!)
When I began to read this Posting, sent to me by a friend, I started salivating. Here was a Stupid Argument made by a Sophist wherein he attempts to rationalize his untenable position. Bad for him and Great for me! There are NO reasonable justifications for Racial Bias. When you consider the Historical Facts of Race History in America, there is NO justification for attempting to Void the Voting Rights Act because “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”– Even if true, that reason is NOT persuasive!
It was not that long ago, during the Bill Clinton Administration, that we heard Southerners openly talking about SECESSION FROM THE USA!
When Sophists, such as Scalia, argue, they are rarely Logical! The whole Point of Sophistic Arguments is to WIN THE ARGUMENT, NOT TO FIND TRUTH!
I do NOT envy Scalia in attempting to justify the unjustifiable. Were I to attempt the same, I could have done no better.
Why it is so important to NEVER elect a Republican President:
Antonin Gregory Scalia (i/skəˈlijə/; born March 11, 1936) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice currently on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court’s conservative wing.
Tabacco is not so much Pro-Democrats as I am Anti-Republicans!
Conservatism does not just threaten the Rights of Blacks in America; it also threatens the Rights of women in childbirth, homosexuals, poor people, the middleclass, Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security, public education, jobs and voting rights of the Majority!
Just like Hitler and the Nazis, Conservatives don’t care about Rights; they only care about winning at any cost!
Antonin Gregory Scalia is not a Conservative Aberration; he is its embodiment!
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.