Target: Justice Antonin Scalia
Goal: Condemn Justice Antonin Scalia for his discriminatory suggestion that the Voting Rights Act propagates “racial entitlement.”
The Voting Rights Act, first enacted in 1965, is back in the Supreme Court to be judged on a series of additional provisions. The Act was a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that promoted the disenfranchisement of Black American voters. If accepted, the provisions to the act would increase voter rights and protections. Justice Antonin Scalia, however, believes that the act is nothing more or less than a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
Scalia believes that the fact that the Act was reauthorized seven years ago without a single dissenting vote does not suggest a national recognition of racial disenfranchisement and the need to prevent it. Instead, it is a sign of fear – lawmakers refuse to oppose the Act because they do not wish to be labeled racist. Scalia stated that he found the Act suspicious, and the lack of dissenting voters increased his concern.
Scalia’s comments build on resentments he expressed in 2006, the last time the Act was before the Senate. Whatever the logic behind his claims, the idea that a bill that protects the rights of disenfranchised groups perpetuates “racial entitlement” is offensive and damaging. Scalia claims his main disagreement with the Act is that it “restricts those political processes which can ordinarily be expected to bring about repeal of undesirable legislation” – that is, it prevents lawmakers from striking down a law they believe is wrong because their dissent may be seen as racially motivated. Scalia believes that such “racial entitlements” prevent honest justice and so it is his duty to vote against the Act and its provisions.
Scalia’s logic is, of course, highly flawed. He builds his argument on the assumption that there are individuals in the Senate who would dissent against the Act’s provisions if they did not fear repercussions. He denies the possibility that the nation has reached a consensus about racial disenfranchisement and its immorality. Scalia will risk the rights of marginalized groups to prove a meaningless point. Sign the petition below to express your disapproval of Justice Scalia’s comments.
Dear Justice Scalia,
In a recent Supreme Court hearing you suggested that the provisions on the Voting Rights Act are a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” You argued that your fellow lawmakers were unable to vote against a bill they did not agree with for fear of public backlash, and that therefore, the Act prevented fair political processes. I am writing to express my disappointment with your comments, and your opinion of the Voting Rights Act and its provisions.
The Voting Rights Act was a landmark piece of national legislation and helped outlaw discriminatory voting practices. When you suggest that lawmakers will not vote against the Act because they do not want to be called racist, you ignore the possibility that the nation has recognized the immorality of racial disenfranchisement. Your claim that a bill that protects the rights of disenfranchised groups perpetuates “racial entitlement” is offensive and damaging. I am disappointed by these comments and hope you will not dissent against an important Act merely to prove a point.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: chinesejudge via Flickr