Have You Heard the Good News? The Supreme Court Declares an End to Racism

06/25/2013 3:41 PM |

Let justice ring, or whatever.
  • Let justice ring, or whatever.

Breaking news: The war is over. The good guys won. As Americans, we can all pat ourselves on the collective back, broad and mighty as the Rocky Mountains as it is, and congratulate each other. Racism is finished. Kaput. Done. RIP prejudice. Let freedom ring.

[jump]

Today, in a landmark, boneheaded decision, the Supreme Court struck down what the New York Times calls “the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, ruling that Congress had not provided adequate justification for subjecting nine states, mostly in the South, to federal oversight.” So, first of all, I just need to say, fuck you, Ralph Nader for guaranteeing that George W. Bush would get to appoint conservative justices to the bench, and fuck you Al Gore for not just steamrolling over Bush to begin with, and FUCK YOU George W. Bush, because we’re still dealing with you shitty legacy.

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system—the decision. What was the reason SCOTUS gave for abolishing legislation that has been used as recently as 2006 to combat race-based discrimination in Texas when redrawing voting jurisdictions, as well as in 2001, when “the mayor and all-white five-member Board of Aldermen of Kilmichael, Mississippi, abruptly canceled the town’s election after ‘an unprecedented number’ of AfricanAmerican candidates announced they were running for office. DOJ required an election, and the town elected its first black mayor and three black aldermen.” Well, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority and explained, “In 1965, the states could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics. Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

Basically, after the recent news that celebrated public personality, and Southerner, Paula Deen, routinely uses horribly racist language and has people like author Ann Rice apologizing for her by saying that it’s just because she’s “an old Southern lady” who is now dealing with “a lynch mob” because of her racist comments, SCOTUS has the balls to publicly declare that racism—especially as a regional issue—doesn’t actually exist anymore. Roberts further explains that legislation against racism “based on 40-year-old facts having no relationship to the present day.” I don’t know how Roberts delivered this opinion with a straight face, I really don’t.

Roberts was joined in the majority by the usual suspects: Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy, of whom I would have expected a little better. In the dissenting group were Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg wrote a powerful and very strongly worded dissent, condemning the decision by saying, “Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake­ proofed, places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination.”

There is still hope that this decision can be overturned by Congress, but it is a dim hope because the legislation would need to get a large majority of votes (218 in the House and 60 in the Senate) and also because it would mean that Congress would actually have to, you know, do something. But Elle Reeve at TheAtlanticWire.com says there is still a chance for Republicans to vote the moral way because of the party’s self-interest. Basically, they’re gonna need to get more minorities to vote for them if they ever want to regain the presidency. It’s going to be a tough road ahead, though. But, for now, rejoice, you guys! Racism is over. So why do I suspect Martin Luther King Jr. is rolling over in his grave?

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen