Supreme Court Goes 8-to-1 to Uphold Part of Voting Rights Act … Now Who Could Be That “One”?

Three guesses!

Aw. You didn’t need three.

From the Washington Post:

Civil rights activists had braced themselves for the conservative majority on the court to find Section 5 unconstitutional. But the court refused to do that on an 8-1 vote with only Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s only African American member, going that far. He said that “punishment for long past sins is not a legitimate basis” for imposing the act’s toughest restrictions on mostly Southern states.

More after the jump.

Justices were ruling on the constitutionality of Section Five of the act which several states, mostly Southern, as well as several voting districts in other states, are named in the act to have their elections monitored for possible suppression and/or discrimination. Some have argued that it is unfair to single out these states and municipalities 40 years after the Civil Rights Movement. Others have argued it is still needed as voter intimidation is a problem in some areas.

What was surprising was that such a conservative court voted so overwhelmingly to leave Section Five almost as is. (But they did rule that these areas should be able to prove they don’t discriminate.) This was especially surprising considering Justice John Roberts had once argued against the legality of parts of the Voting Rights Act when congress renewed it.

But Justice Clarence Thomas dissention shouldn’t be a surprised to any one. I’m more shocked that Justice Antonin Scalia, strict constitutionalist, was part of the eight than Thomas being the voice against Section Five.

18 thoughts on “Supreme Court Goes 8-to-1 to Uphold Part of Voting Rights Act … Now Who Could Be That “One”?

  1. I’m much less surprised at Uncle Thomas than I am by Roberts and Scalia, especially Roberts. In rulings on school desegration and employment discrimination, as well as rendering his opinion when Congress renewed the VRA, Roberts has made it clear he regards racism and discrimination pretty much as vestiges of the past, and that there is no legal basis to rectify the impact of past discrimination. I was expecting a 5-4 ruling with the conservative majority finding Section 5 unconstitutional. Dare I hold out hope that cool and thoughtful heads will prevail on the Ricci case as well?

  2. Poor handkerchief head, he just can’t control himself and doesn’t want to acknowledge the possibility of ongoing discrimnation even when ole Massa does. Po Thomas

  3. We all would have been surprised if he had voted any other way. this man is a disgrace to himself and certainly a menace to the cause of Black people. He is doing exactly what he was selected to the court to do. I wonder how he looks himself in the mirror and walks away to live another day.

  4. Discussing this with my boy and coming to understand that it was a bitch move on both sides. "elite 8" didn’t answer the question on whether this was constitutional or not. They’re not all "Pro Voting Rights Act" or anything. Thomas’ dissent was saying, "We didn’t answer the question" while the others were saying, "We don’t feel comfortable answering the question… so we’ll just let this one slide…"Thomas stuck to his typical narrow-interpretation-of-the-constitution-lacking-"big picture"-insight guns on this one, but his dissent is sound.

  5. I will never forgive George Bush’s lack of empathy for African American’s civil rights struggles by appointing Clarence Thomas to what was previously Thurgood Marshall’s (The Prince of Civil Rights) seat on the Supreme Court. That appointment gave cover to all the racists who would point to Thomas as the poster child for their version of Civil Rights, regressive Civil Rights. In effect Thomas was a 2-for. Bush was able to say:" What? I appointed an African American" and to the racist crowd: What? He’s going to vote with us every step of the way."

  6. I always find it interesting the usage of "Uncle Tom" in modern conjecture and perjoratives. Back in its original use it was a mean thing to say – because the actual character was one of integrity and of love. This cat – Justice Thomas is not. Never thought he was an African American anyway – just a man with brown skin.

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