TheSupreme Court has said in 1980 that you can only strike

October 27, 2013 Uncategorized

A conversation with Ari Berman

buy canada goose jacket cheap In recent years, a barrage of restrictions on access to the ballot and a determined campaign canada goose uk shop to weaken the Voting Rights Act have put the right to vote more gravely at risk than it been in half a century. A new book by Ari Berman, “Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle For canadian goose jacket Voting Rights,” exposes a remarkably successful, decades long effort by the right to roll back voting protections. buy canada goose jacket cheap

Canada Goose Outlet Berman joined MSNBC Zachary Roth to talk about John Roberts’ key role in the campaign, how best to protect voting going forward, and why, with the 2016 election approaching, the worst could be yet to come. A lightly edited transcript of the conversation follows. Canada Goose Outlet

canada goose clearance sale ZR: If there was one overriding message I took from your fascinatingbook, it was about how the meaning of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), andthe scope, even, of canada goose uk black friday the Act, have Canada Goose Coats On Sale shifted over time. How nobody knewwhen it was passed in 1965 exactly what it would cover, what it woulddo, what it wouldn’t. And one particular example of that being votedilution: These cases where it’s not a question of being denied thevote, it’s a question of, will their vote count to be able to electthe representatives that they want to elect. All over the south, but particularly in placeslike Selma, Alabama, where it only had 2 percent of African Americanswho were registered to vote. And so the VRA tried to solve thisproblem first by outlawing literacy tests and poll taxes uk canada goose outlet that hadprevented African Americans from voting, by sending federal officialsto the south to register voters, in huge numbers, by keeping federalofficials in the south cheap Canada Goose to make sure uk canada goose elections weren’t stolen, bytelling those states with the worst histories of discrimination thatthey had to approve their voting changes with the federal government. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose deals What happened after the initial period of the passage of the VRA Canada Goose online isthat states like Mississippi began changing canada goose coats their election laws tomake it harder for these newly registered black voters to actuallyhave real political representation. And canada goose black friday sale that’s where the whole newstruggle that you mentioned, where states tried to dilute the blackvote they couldn’t just stop black voters from voting, so they said,we’re going to make it so that they can’t be elected, basically. Andthere was this very influential case, Allen v. State Board ofElections in 1969, canada goose clearance sale from Mississippi, and the Supreme Court said in a7 2 decision that the VRA was going to deal with everything related tomaking the vote effective. That it wasn’t just about the right tovote, it canada goose coats on sale was the power of the vote. And so that interpretation of theVRA made it extremely important, and led it to have real impact, notjust in striking down these barriers to the ballot box, but in makingsure there was real representation. People like John Lewis, forexample, who nearly died marching for voting rights in Selma, would beable to be elected to the Congress, that eventually we’d be able tohave a President Obama, and the promise of the Act would be real. canada goose deals

canada goose And now it’s interesting because the same sort of tools that were usedto challenge vote dilution so, election systems that made it harderfor African Americans to be elected are now challenging new votingrestrictions that not only cheap canada goose uk make it harder for people to be elected butthat actually make it harder for you to cast a ballot as well. canada goose

canada goose clearance ZR: John Roberts: You portray him as, from the start of his career asa young lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, you say he had anobsession with sort of limiting the scope of the VRA and of othercivil rights laws. You say he was obsessed with getting rid of theresults test for the VRA, limiting it to intent. Put that in thecontext of his ruling in the Shelby Canada Goose Jackets County decision [which badlyweakened the VRA in 2013] and future voting rights cases that he mighthear. canada goose clearance

canada goose coats AB: Well, John Roberts has a very long history with the VRA, andthat’s something that I wanted to tell in great detail in the bookbecause I think a lot of people have forgotten canada goose or didn’t know thisstory: That after John Roberts graduates from Harvard Law School, hegoes and clerks for William Rehnquist. And I also wanted to talk aboutRehnquist, because I don’t think people understand his role inhistory, how influential he was, and how radical he was. Rehnquist wasknown as the Lone Ranger when Nixon put him on the court because hewas so conservative. He was someone who, for example, believed thatBrown v. Board of Education was wrongly decided. And then, Rehnquist becomes Roberts’s entreinto the Reagan Justice Department. canada goose coats

Canada Goose Jackets That’s really where the counter revolution canada goose clearance against voting rights thatI talked about really gains steam. TheSupreme Court has said in 1980 that you can only strike downdiscriminatory election systems if you show proof of intentionaldiscrimination, canada goose outlet which is very, very, very, difficult to prove. But Roberts reallybecomes the chief person tasked with Canada Goose Outlet dealing with Congress on thisvoting rights issue, and he wrote memo after memo after memo arguingagainst a broad interpretation of the VRA. And then thirty yearslater, when he gets put on the Supreme Court, it’s not surprising thathe would be the architect of gutting the VRA if you understand that hehas a long history in opposition to this law. Canada Goose Jackets

Canada Goose sale ZR: And then, again, what might that also mean for canada goose factory sale any future cases hemight hear? Canada Goose sale

canada goose store AB: Well, it’s very worrisome, because what Roberts did was he struckdown Section 4 of the VRA, which was the formula that covered thosestates with the worst histories of voting discrimination, and saidthat they have to approve their voting changes with the federalgovernment to prevent discrimination in the future. But if you look atthe cases that are coming up before the Supreme Court, potentially,either from Texas or North Carolina or some other place, they’redealing with Section 2 of the VRA, which was not struck down by thecourt. That was the very provision that Roberts was challenging in the1980s, and so there’s a lot of concern that Roberts hasn’t forgottenthis battle, that Section 2 is what he was initially concerned with,and that if a new voting rights case comes up he is going to onceagain try to take a very limited interpretation of the VRA, whichwould basically the VRA is already kind of on life support here, andif Roberts was to gut it further, I think everyone really believesthat it would largely be Canada Goose sale dead. canada goose store

cheap Canada Goose ZR: As you’ve said, the history of the VRA and protecting votingrights has been kind of inseparably tied to race in America, and yourbook makes clear why we came up with an approach to protecting votingthat puts race at the center. The restrictions that we’re seeing onvoting today, most of them, do have a disproportionate effect on aracial basis, but they also operate on other levels, singling out poorpeople, students, Canada Goose Parka the disabled sometimes. I don’t think it’s an either/ordiscussion, I think its unfortunate its been framed as such. I thinkwe need to recognize that racial discrimination in voting stillexists, and that certain types of voters are continually singled out,unfortunately. But I also think we need broader protections thingslike expanded early voting or same day voter registration or onlinevoter registration or automatic voter registration that will increasethe electorate more broadly and protect all voters. And it’s sad thatwe cant really reach a consensus on either. cheap Canada Goose

Canada Goose online ZR: Right, and we are seeing some progress in those states, Oregonpassing a universal voter registration law. I learned from your bookthat Jimmy Carter was an early advocate of universal voterregistration, Hillary Clinton came out for it earlier this summer. Isthis a terrain that’s harder for Republicans and conservatives tocontest, because it is just about expanding access to the ballot, andwho can be against that? Canada Goose online

canada goose black friday sale AB: When Jimmy Carter proposed automatic voter registration in 1976,at an event with John Lewis, where he said, everyone who turns 18should be automatically registered to vote, this is how we can honorpeople like John Lewis and Dr. King and what they fought for, after heintroduced that proposal, Ronald Reagan said that it would invitewholesale election fraud. So to some extent, the same debates that wesaw back in the 1970s are playing out today. We’ve already heard forexample from some conservatives that automatic voter registration willlead to higher fraud. There’s a lot of hysteria that illegalimmigrants, undocumented immigrants, are going to be registered tovote. So I expect canada goose store the same kind of push back to automatic voterregistration that we’re seeing to all these other reforms, because Ithink there are just certain people out there that oppose any sort ofexpansion of the franchise, any sort of effort to bring more peopleinto the political process, particularly people Canada Goose Online who might not beconservative leaning voters. And so they’ve manufactured this crisisto try to make it harder to expand access to the ballot, and then tobuild support for new restrictions that make it harder to vote. canada goose black friday sale

canada goose coats on sale ZR: Last question: We’re approaching the 2016 canada goose uk outlet election, which will bethe first presidential election since 1964 without the fullprotections of the VRA in force. What can we expect to see as a resultof that? canada goose coats on sale

Canada Goose Parka AB: Well I think we’re already seeing that new restrictions are inplace in swing states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, and that 15states have new restrictions in place for the first time in the 2016presidential cycle. But I think we’re going to see more movement. Abunch of state legislatures are coming back in 2016, they could passnew restrictions closer to the election. At the same time, there couldbe changes on the local level, that are going to be harder tospot closing a polling place right before the election, all sorts ofthings like that, that aren’t going to be done with a lot of advancenotice and are going to be difficult to spot. And I think we’re going to see similar effortsin 2016, where there will be new efforts to make it harder to vote,but hopefully there will also be efforts to try to overcome that aswell Canada Goose Parka.


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