Archive for June, 2013

Supreme Court Kills DOMA, VRA caught in crossfire.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Today I’ve got a couple of things to talk about.  There was good news coming out of the Supreme Court today and some bad news coming out from them on Monday.

First the good news, because it’s pretty damn BIG. In a 5-4 decision (and I can’t believe it was that close) the Supreme Court declared the DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act), unconstitutional. This is a HUGE win for civil liberty in the U.S. and I for one applaud the decision. This could change the very landscape of equal rights, and build a stronger meaning behind the ideas this nation was built on. Equality for ALL.

With DOMA finally dead, it’s important for us not to become complacent. Now the fight to watch for subversive legislation coming out of the right wing takes on a whole new scope. The conservatives aren’t going to be happy with letting people have freedom; they’ll come at this with a renewed sense of self-righteousness and hatred. They will attack on all sides and at even the smallest of details and lowest of levels. We need to stay vigilant and protect the rights of ALL people.

Now, on to the bad news. In Mondays release of decisions, the Supreme Court struck down large portions of the VRA (Voting Rights Act). This decision ultimately removes Federal jurisdiction over certain states where voter protections were deemed necessary at one point. The court decided that the way these states were being singled out needed to be removed and that the voter protections needed to be rewritten to be more inclusive and less targeted. Sounds justifiable enough, I guess? Unfortunately they removed the voter protections without new policies in place.

Here’s why this is such a huge problem. The VRA was enacted on certain states because those states were hotbeds for racial discrimination. The VRA allotted Federal jurisdiction over these states to protect minority voters, where the state itself was unable or simply unwilling to treat minority voters equally or with any sense of decency.  Without the VRA in place the states were back in control of their voters rights.  The Supreme Court, well the 5-4 majority within, decided that times have changed and these states were in no danger of falling back into their racist ways. Oh, how wrong they are.

Quite literally minutes after the decision had been announced, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot announced, “With today’s decision, the State’s Voter ID law will take effect immediately.” Ushering in a brand new wave of discrimination. And his Texas wont be the only State to enact their laundry list of voter discriminating legislation either. Redistricting and other things the Justice Department used to look at, will now be open targets for white conservatives to shoot at. And it will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Although the Supreme Court didn’t fully gut the VRA, they did essentially render it useless, by removing its “permission based” oversight, to a less effective “complaint” style of law. Now, if there is an act of voter discrimination, you’d have to file a law suit to have it overturned. As we here in Florida have had experience with, by the time any movement is made on a lawsuit, the election is over and the damage has been done. Then, just like here in Florida, the people responsible for the blatant bullying, redact the offending legislation and say, “oops, sorry. I guess I shouldn’t have done that.”  (Rick Scott douchebaggery)

This,  States Rights vs Federal Oversight, is one of my biggest arguments against the ideas of a man like Ron Paul. He seems to fool everyone with some quick wordplay, but if you really get down to the truth with him, he wants States to function individual of the Federal government for this very reason. So he, and legislators like him can enact their idea of a utopian society, in which they are free to discriminate against whoever they want, be it gays, blacks, or any minority they feel differs from them. And as he himself has stated, “…if you don’t like where you live, you can just move to a state where they share your views.” Sick bastard. I’m sure Hitler said the same thing about the Jews when he was getting his footing on the political front.

To end, this ruling is dangerous. Unfortunately we’re going to see just how dangerous, sooner rather than later.

And to bring this circle back around, Ron Paul happens to be co-author and main sponsor of DOMA. Go figure.