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ETpro's avatar

Is now a good time for the Supreme Court to review the Voting Rights Act?

Asked by ETpro (34247 points ) November 10th, 2012

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Did this past election provide a new wealth of evidence that the states should be left alone to manage Federal Elections any way they wish? Is now a good time to consider overturning the Federal Government’s enforcement of voting rights? What constitutional mandate do you think the court can find for the Federal Government to ensure fair elections?

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10 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

It’s obviously going to be a due process matter, probably taking into account the republican clause of the constitution (people have a right to a republican government).

The court’s right-wingers are probably eager to solidify Republikan Party power while they can. Three of the right-wing justices are getting up there in years, and Obama could get a chance to replace one. Even replacing Kennedy swings the court back toward the center, and replacing Scalia or Thomas would do that even more.

Even if Obama doesn’t replace one, at this point Democrats controlling the Senate and POTUS until 2020 isn’t out of the question. (Republikans will probably keep the House through the decade, though. I suspect it’s too gerrymandered to change much, at least not without wild demographic swings.)

dabbler's avatar

It’s time enforce the Voting Rights Act even more than ever.

It’s time to review the ‘Citizens United’ decision, well, maybe premature until we get some SCOTUS replacements who actually are concerned about the welfare of natural persons as much and more than corporate persons.

I like Bernie Sanders proposal for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United and establish that corporations are Not persons (and subsequently that money is Not speech protected by the first amendment).

dabbler's avatar

“Did this past election provide a new wealth of evidence that the states should be left alone to manage Federal Elections any way they wish?”
No, it provided a wealth of evidence that Federal Elections should be conducted in a uniform manner regardless of what state you’re in. The “states’ rights” argument is foolish in this context and lapses back two hundred years to when communication was not good enough to conduct elections the way we can now.

Abolish the electoral college, and mandate and fund standardized federal election methodology.

filmfann's avatar

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Age: 79 yr 7 mo
Antonin Scalia Age: 76 yr 7 mo
Anthony Kennedy Age: 76 yr 3 mo
Stephen Breyer Age: 74 yr 2 mo
Clarence Thomas Age: 64 yr 4 mo
Samuel A. Alito, Jr. Age: 62 yr 7 mo
Sonia Sotomayor Age: 58 yr 4 mo
John G. Roberts Age: 57 yr 9 mo
Elena Kagan Age: 52 yr 6 mo

The next justice to retire will probably be Ginsburg, who is the far left on the court.
Next will probably be Kennedy, who is the swing vote. Scalia is a little older, but Kennedy is aging faster, probably due to Scalia.
I don’t see the balance of the court being severely impacted for at least 3 years. There will be a lot of issues the court will decide between now and then.

bolwerk's avatar

@filmfann: I think Breyer already said he will retire if Obama wins. Barring a Teabagger insurrection, Obama probably will be certified as the next POTUS. And I don’t think Ginsberg will hang on much longer either.

I don’t know what Kennedy wants. He may prefer a Republikan replace him, as the supposedly moderate O’Connor did. She even got to cast a vote that decided as much.

filmfann's avatar

Ginsburg has said she wants to stay on the court as long as Louis Brandeis, who was 82.
Obama replacing Breyer will not be expected to change the court, though often a presidents pick does not go the way they expect.

zenvelo's avatar

The behavior in Florida and Texas alone are evidence that the conditions of the VRA should still be imposed. There is no defense that the conditions are over, when states are still trying to disenfranchise minorities.

One argument against he VRA is that it is not equally applied. Pennsylvania and Ohio were much harder to thwart in their attempts to disrupt the election than the states that had historically discriminated.

Unbroken's avatar

There was an article I read about SC and potential voter discrimination I found interesting.
The VRA needs to be fine tuned, as with any other thing, people are always looking for and finding loop holes. The VRA needs to take that into consideration and make changes accordingly.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I think that the Voting Rights Act should be strengthened instead of being weakened. The Supreme Court should make sure that EVERYONE (who is a citizen) is allowed / encouraged to vote.

ETpro's avatar

@bolwerk Yes, the Constitution is specific on what groups can group, but not on how voting is conducted.

@dabbler Great answers. The part about, “Did this past election provide a new wealth of evidence that the states should be left alone to manage Federal Elections any way they wish?” was said very much tongue in cheek.

@filmfann Thanks for listing the ages of each Justice.

@zenvelo Amen.

@rosehips The Supreme Court of late has not been know for its skill at fine tuning things. They tend to us hydrogen bombs where a scalpel would be a better tool.

@Linda_Owl I totally agree.

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