Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

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This is a follow up to my posting back on Sept 6th of last year looking into efforts by North Carolina’s Republican legislature to suppress the minority vote. Because the Supreme Court will NOT review the lower court’s decision, this clearly racist and undemocratic act is officially dead. We can breathe a sigh of relief now. But know that even though Rethuglicans have lost the governorship in NC, they still control both houses of the legislature and they are not going to stop trying to keep minorities from showing up at the polls.

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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited the state’s changed political scene in the order and noted the justices’ did not address the merits of the case.

Source: Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

Another Look at North Carolina’s Voter Suppression Bill

Rethuglican legislators in many red states have been trying hard to keep the “wrong kind” of voters from the polls ever since the SCOTUS gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act; that unfortunate decision, Shelby County v. Holder, came down in June of 2013.

There have been so many regressive laws passed since that decision which were calculated to keep the a large segment of Democratic base from participating in elections — Presidential elections — in particular. One of the most notorious and far-reaching of those bills came out North Carolina in July of 2013. HB 589 was hastily passed with very little public comment and was immediately challenged. Although it was originally upheld on appeal, last month the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit struck down HB 589 saying — among other things — that it was crafted “with surgical precision” to keep African Americans from voting in North Carolina.

I first blogged about the decision striking down this accursed bill on July 29th. That posting was entitled Strict Voter ID Law Overturned by Appeals Court; you can view it by clicking on the category American Life and Politics without having to scroll back through four months’ worth of posts.

This is really a follow-up to highlight an excellent WaPo article by William Wan which lays out the larger story about how this hellish bill came to be; I found it to be a very good and detailed piece and recommend to anyone who has an interest in North Carolina’s Voter ID law or voter suppression techniques in general. You can read it by following this link.

Now that we’re a mere 62 days away from a truly monumental Presidential election we need to remain on-guard. The Republican Party knows that a huge chunk of the American electorate — and the courts — are onto their game. We can’t afford to sit idly by while they do their damnedest to disenfranchise voters they don’t like on election day.

 

Strict Voter ID Law in NC Overturned by Appeals Court

A decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that North Carolina’s 2012 law requiring a picture ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The law took away a week of early voting as well.

Seventeen states in all have enacted laws restricting voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act in 2013. And, in every case, the Republican legislators who pushed through the changes said it was all about preventing voter fraud and most certainly was not about suppressing voter turnout among minorities. They were lying. And it didn’t take long for the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit to figure that out.

The NAACP–which brought the suit–and the U.S. Justice Dept were pleased with the ruling. Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, was not.

Those who actually want Americans to be able vote are hopeful that the ruling may bode well for lawsuits pending in other circuits against similar state laws. Suits are underway now in Virginia and Texas among others. Of course, it may never be known whether today’s ruling will have any effect; one can only hope.

It certainly will have an effect on voters who wish to vote on November 8th but do not have a Driver’s License. It will be an unabashedly good thing for people who were hoping to vote early.

Voting is a precious right in American and one upon which the health of our democracy depends. And it’s a very good thing that appeals courts are making it tougher for state legislatures to deny or limit that right.

To read an in-depth article about today’s Appeals Court decision, follow this link.

You’re a Grand Old Flag!

You’re a Grand Old Flag!

Found this bit of wall art and really liked it. Found it in a very unlikely place, I hasten to add. Loved it. Took it home. Snapped it. Cropped it. For me, it perfectly captures the feeling of what the 4th of July is about.

Our Democracy has aged a bit. That may be an understatement.  But even after 240 years, the ideals upon which our Country was founded are very relevant. As many have pointed out, 240 is not that old in the lifespan of nations.

Even though, obviously, it was something over which I had no control, I’m grateful to have been born here. I’m glad that I’m an American. Our country is far from perfect, but I love her. Glad to have served in her Navy. I am cautiously optimistic about her future but there are many disquieting things happening right now in our corporate life.

Americans who sit in positions of leadership need to stop making it harder for some of their fellow citizens to vote. This is pernicious, it’s a blight on our democracy and it needs to stop.

We need to get dark money out of politics. Corporations and PACS and throw millions–yes, millions–of dollars into campaigns with no one having the slightest idea of where the money came from. This needs to stop.

The Supreme Court erred badly in the Citizens United case. Corporations are not people. And when they were green-lighted to dump vast amounts of money into political campaigns, it was nothing less than a kick in the gut to Lady Liberty. If that decision stands, The United States will never again live up to the lofty ideal we hear whenever The Pledge of Allegiance is recited: “One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All!”

This great but troubled country we love can live up to its lofty ideals. But it will take strong, deliberate action by ordinary citizens to right the ship of democracy. When the mechanics of government favor the rich and powerful and avaricious, ever self-serving corporations while ignoring the rest of us, democracy begins to die.

As we commemorate our nation’s 240th birthday, I’m recommitting myself to doing my part to get us off the road to oligarchy and back on democracy’s path. It will take good leadership from our elected officials and a willingness to speak the truth. In the words of Bob Dylan, “Let us stop talking falsely now, the hour’s getting late.”

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile on the 4th of July

 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is one non-profit org working mightily to get the dark money and unlimited corporate contributions out of our elections. Their good work has been very effective and holding our elected officials accountable and shining a light on their misdeeds when they betray the ideals upon which our Nation was founded. To learn more about the work of C.R.E.W. follow this link.