March 1, 2013 4 Comments
The left is up in arms over comments Justice Scalia during oral arguments on a case involving the Voting Rights Act. The Act was passed in 1965 and was intended to last only five years. It basically required southern states to petition the Federal government before making changes to voting laws. In 1965 it was perhaps understandable legislation as the intent was to guarantee blacks the right to vote, which southern states had up to that point tended to deny. In 2013 the south is hardly the hot bed of Jim Crow legalized racism that it was in 1965. As Justice Roberts asked during arguments, is the south more racist than the north? The answer to that is no.
One of the issues with the Voting Rights Act is that it requires states to make majority minority districts, generally via gerrymandering. Scalia chimed in on this suggesting “whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.” The left is enraged over this comment. Justice Sotomayor asked one of the attorney’s arguing the case whether voting was a racial entitlement.
Generally speaking the left is following Sotomayor’s apparent line of argument, outraged that Scalia would call voting a racial entitlement. Except of course Scalia made no such argument. He’s merely pointing out that creating an entitlement to a majority minority congressional district as well as other voting entitlements for racial minorities are politically difficult to eliminate. He never once suggested that voting itself was a racial entitlement. The problem here is that when conservatives speak liberals hear something entirely different than what is being said. They’ve been taught to root out hidden racism. They’re like Communists in the East German Stasi, constantly looking for the hidden enemy that doesn’t exist.
In 2013 can anyone cite a single example of any American in this country being denied the right to vote because of their race? Can anyone cite an example of a single American being denied the right to register to vote based on their race? If not, why do we need the Voting Rights Act and all of its Federal regulations? You might argue that the Act is aimed at the racist south. But the north has far more segregation and racial animosity than the south. Just go to metro Detroit, Cleveland or Chicago sometime, there are clear racial boundaries. Those areas aren’t subject to the Act, the south is. Indiana, a state that elected KKK Governor’s in the 20′s, has never been subject to the Act. Is Indiana less racist than Alabama?
Scalia’s point is perfectly valid. He’s not arguing that voting itself is a racial preference. He’s arguing that creating special rules, regulations and districts aimed at minorities is a racial preference. Whether that means the Voting Rights Act is going to be overturned remains to be seen. Odds are either Kennedy or Roberts will vote against overturning the law. That said, pointing out the 2013 reality of the Voting Rights Act isn’t racism. Scalia isn’t a racist for calling the Act what it is. The left is intentionally mischaracterizing what he said for political gain. Or perhaps they’re mischaracterizing it because they are incapable of listening when a conservative speaks.