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rojo's avatar

What do you think of Judge Scalias' contention that some things are too important to be left to Congress to decide?

Asked by rojo (24169points) March 6th, 2013

A few days ago Judge Scalia said:

“Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. 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.

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. 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.”

His contention appears to be that Senators are voting for this law not because it is a fair, just or necessary law (which is almost 50 years old now) but through fear of losing in an upcoming election and that their unanimous vote to re-up the law in 2006 is indicative of this.

Regardless of whether you agree with the law or not; what do you think of Scalias’ contention?

Here are a couple of websites with views on the subject:
Thinkprogress, ChristianCentury, Fox2Now

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24 Answers

syz's avatar

Scalia: SCOTUS’ Rush Limbaugh (to paraphrase

As much as I despise Scalia, I also no longer have any faith that our elected officials have the will to do the “right” thing.

Seek's avatar

The system is broken. It is far too profitable to be a Senator, and there are no term limits.

It also bugs me that there is no term limit for a Supreme Court Justice, either.

janbb's avatar

I think that many things are too important to let either the Congress or the Supreme Court to decide. This has been born out by recent history.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

He’s an arrogant piece of crap. He’s contending that at the same time those states are taking steps to keep minorities from voting. And congress is a piece of crap too. Look at what they’re not doing now.

marinelife's avatar

Congress makes the laws and the Supreme Court decides whether they are constitutional. That’s all.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t like him and I don’t trust him but on this, I agree with him. There are far too many Senators and Congressmen who don’t know enough about the the things they’re voting on and whose self-interest rather than the public’s interest motivates them. Perhaps it was always this way; it just seems worse now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Contempt for the democratic process and megalomania.

bookish1's avatar

It’s hard to say whether I have more disdain for Congress, or Scalia. But I wasn’t sure why I should keep reading his words once I got to “racial entitlements.”

Ron_C's avatar

I am very disappointed with the entire legislative branch of government. The supreme court is worse. I don’t want the court to legislate and that’s what Scalia wants. He is reactionary, arrogant, and a bit fascist. I trust him less than 100 self serving senators.

zenvelo's avatar

He just made a case for an activist court! 50 years of conservatives complaining about activist judges, and their favorite on the SCOTUS is as radical as any in a hundred years.

josie's avatar

His point is, certain powers should be limited to the various states. And his reasons why. It isn’t the specific issue, it is where should certain powers reside.
But the Federal Government violates the 10th Amendment everyday. Nobody seems to care, and it is unlikely to stop.

Jaxk's avatar

To me, it is always a problem when you enact special laws for special people. And in this case special laws for special people in special states. We will never be equal as long as we treat people differently. Equal justice doesn’t work with your thumb on the scale. Regardless of which side it’s on.

flutherother's avatar

The Voting Right Act doesn’t entitle anybody it just ensures that everyone’s right to vote is respected. It doesn’t treat different people differently, quite the opposite in fact. It is there to prevent discrimination.

bookish1's avatar

This is one of many topics where Americans of diametrically opposed political tendencies just talk past each other. Where one sees legal protection from discrimination as necessary because groups are routinely discriminated against on a daily basis, another decries protection of special groups because there is no discrimination on a daily basis…

Jaxk's avatar


There is no argument, that was the intent of the law. It has morphed over the years of amendments and judicial rulings into something else. here is an interesting piece that discusses the change over the years and in my mind describes the pitfalls of special laws for special people, It is quite long but very informative. It describes the transformation from voting equality to equality of outcomes. Special districts that can only elect blacks and the limitation inherent in that. I’ll add the final paragraph from that article:

“America is much better off with the increase in the number of black elected officials made possible in large part by the deliberate drawing of majority-minority districts. But black politics has come of age, and black politicians can protect their turf, fight for their interests, and successfully compete—even for the presidency. America should celebrate, and move on.”

janbb's avatar

@Jaxk But gerrymandering is done by both parties for many different reasons. What does that have to do with equal access to the right to vote?

Jaxk's avatar


The voting rights act has morphed into more than just equal voting rights. The article I referenced explains it a lot better than I could. Essentially it has changed where if the majority black districts don’t elect a black representative, that is evidence of discrimination and the districts are redrawn to effect that outcome. The problems in this are subtle but negative over time. That’s why the voting rights act was designed to expire. It hasn’t and probably won’t for the reasons cited by Scalia.

bkcunningham's avatar

The case being argued before the US Supreme Court isn’t whether to do away with the Voting Rights Act. The Act has been set to expire many, many times and has been extended by Congress. When is it set to expire now? 2030?

This case is Shelby County (Alabama) v Holder in regards to Section 5’s preclearance requirement. @janbb, it is basically about racially gerrymandering voting districts.

ETpro's avatar

Scalia is full of shit. Senators are FAR more subject to the will of the people than Supreme Court Justices. Voting isn’t a special racial entitlement, it is a Constitutional Entitlement of all Americans. The job of the Supreme Court is not to decide what to strike down from law because it is popular, and the people who elect the lawmakers want it; it’s to review the constitutionality of laws.

50 years ago, the solid south was systematically excluding certain “undesirables” from their constitutional right to vote. This last election, Republicans tried to do that in 31 states. So far from being over, voting rights denial is alive and well and has spread from the South to all red states. That is why the 4 con men of the Supreme Court are looking for some pretext to strike down Section 5. It’s standing in the way of the people they shill for being able to rig elections so they win no matter what the popular vote might be.

Jaxk's avatar

Now there’s an objective unbiased response.

flutherother's avatar

The law has evolved over the years but the intent is the same, to ensure a fair result in elections. It isn’t just an issue in the US, the Boundary Commissions for England and for Scotland were set up to ensure that our electoral boundaries are fair. It is an ongoing issue; we can’t just ‘celebrate and move on’.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

His approach is patronizing and expresses a fundamental distrust of the process of Democracy.

filmfann's avatar

Rachel Maddow said it very well on her show. She said that you might not realize this until you have seen Scalia in action live in the court. She said “Scalia is a troll”.

I think this says it all. People are trying to rig elections.

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