Archive for the ‘Voting Rights Act’ Tag

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Closing out a week of commemorating progress from the Civil Rights Movement, President Barack Obama on Friday sharply criticized Republicans for leading efforts in some parts of the country to prevent citizens from voting.

Obama’s administration has challenged states that have implemented voter ID laws and other restrictions in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, designed to prevent discrimination at the polls.

Strict voting rights laws are said to disproportionately affect minorities and lower-income Americans, many of whom tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

“The stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” Obama told a meeting of the National Action Network, a group founded by civil rights leader and MSNBC television anchor Reverend Al Sharpton.

“Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote,” he said.

Last year the Obama administration sued North Carolina to block rules including a requirement for voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Justice Department also sued to keep Texas from carrying out a voter identification requirement enacted in 2011.

Proponents of such rules argue they are needed to prevent voter fraud.

North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the state’s sweeping voting changes into law in August, saying: “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.”

Obama rejected that argument, saying studies showed such abuse was extremely rare.

“The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” he said to applause from the crowd.

“But it’s a fact this recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. It’s been led by the Republican Party,” he continued. “If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that’s not a sign of strength. That’s a sign of weakness.”

Obama flew to Texas earlier this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation spearheaded by President Lyndon B. Johnson that helped end America’s segregationist past.

Obama: GOP efforts to stifle voting rights are ‘a sign of weakness’ | The Raw Story

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Bill Maher “New Rule:When you promise the American people that something won’t happen if you change the law, and they you change the law and it does happen, you have to eat a little bleep for it. Oh, I’m not talking about him (shows picture of President Obama), I’m talking about him (shows picture of Chief Justice John Roberts). Twice now, in three years, first with the Citizens United ruling, then with gutting the voting rights act, Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservatives on the Supreme Court changed the law, and promised no bad would come of it, and bad came of it almost immediately. John Roberts is kind of the legal equivalent of the guy in The Hurt Locker, except in his case he always cuts the wrong wire and everything always blows up.

Now, back in June, before they took their summer break, the Supreme Court dropped a big one. They gutted the 1965 voting rights act, which is the law that forced certain states, let’s just say the ones where you might find a Piggly Wiggly, forced those states to get permission from the Justice Department before they made any changes in their voting laws. Why? Well, because in the past these states had been naughty, and had prevented minorities from voting with little tricks like poll taxes and literacy tests. But, the conservatives on the court, all excited from being born yesterday, said racism had been cured, and that laws against voter suppression were unnecessary, relics of a bygone era like cassette tapes or moderate Republicans. They said that other than shopping at Barney’s there was no evidence anymore that black people needed special protection. Come on, it’s 2013, they’re dating Kardashians now.

During arguments for the case Justice Roberts actually asked, with a straight face and a cocked head, ‘Is it the government’s submission that the citizens of the South are more racist than the citizens of the North?’ (Feb 27, 2013). Well, for example, in the last election, 66% of whites in Vermont voted for our black President, 10% of whites in Mississippi did, so maybe a tad. And the South, after all, was responsible for enslaving black people, and Jim Crow, and the KKK, and lynchings…I’m going to go with yes.

So, what happened after the court changed the law? Within 48 hours Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina, Virginia all moved to make it harder for minorities to vote. The court was proved thunderously wrong in less time than it takes Miley Cyrus to get dressed. Same thing happened with the Citizens United ruling. President Obama said in his 2010 State Of The Union speech that the Supreme Court had quote opened the floodgates for special interests to spend without limits in our elections. And, Justice Alito famously was shown mouthing the words not true. Turns out (Mahr mouths the word true). Of course, left to their own devices the filthy rich, I’m sorry I mean America’s job creators. It turned out that they did indeed sway elections with billions from God knows where. Creepy billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife…they alone spent 150 million dollars in 2012. Money he mainly got from owning a casino in China, just as the founders envisioned. And yet, Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority from his tower in Whoville, said ‘independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’ (January 21, 2010). Which is true, except for always.

John McCain called that naive, which of course it is, and it highlights a very real problem with today’s conservatives. They are just too sentimental about how wonderful America is. Racism, that’s over. Monied interests, they couldn’t corrupt us if they tried. Conservatives act like they’re tough as nails realists, but they cry at fireworks. And, they get a warm morning in America feeling thinking about lighthouses and farmers and the smell of pie. And, they just can’t believe that Americans, God’s chosen and wonderful people, maybe you’ve heard, we’re exceptional, would ever do anything as corrupt as, Yea we would! Twice in the last three years the court believed in us and twice Americans basically said what John Belushi said in Animal House, you bleeped up, you shouldn’t have trusted us.”