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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:09 PM

Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’ [View all]

Last edited Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:43 PM - Edit history (1)

Source: Think Progress

Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’


WASHINGTON, DC — There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyer’s lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”

That was an unusual comment when it was made, but Scalia’s expansion on it today raises concerns that his suspicion of the Act is rooted much more in racial resentment than in a general distrust of unanimous votes. Scalia noted when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965, it passed over 19 dissenters. In subsequent reauthorizations, the number of dissenters diminished, until it passed the Senate without dissent seven years ago. Scalia’s comments suggested that this occurred, not because of a growing national consensus that racial disenfranchisement is unacceptable, but because lawmakers are too afraid to be tarred as racists. His inflammatory claim that the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” came close to the end of a long statement on why he found a landmark law preventing race discrimination in voting to be suspicious.

It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.

A transcript of the oral argument will be available soon, and we will post Scalia’s quote in its full context. We will also post audio of Scalia’s words when they become available.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/27/1646891/scalia-voting-rights-act-is-perpetuation-of-racial-entitlement/



His choicest line today may have been this: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act.” Who does he think he is, Chris freaking Matthews? Since when is it a Justice’s job to divine when the people’s representatives are acting from pure motives, and when they are moved by crass “racial entitlements,” as he describes the guarantees that allowed millions of African Americans to vote for the first time? Call that what it is, but it sure as hell isn’t originalism. It’s just lawless free-styling.

MORE on this:
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/02/scalia-attacks-congress-for-renewing-voting-rights-act.php

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