States Stand Up for Voting as Justice Scalia Again Offends Entire Nation

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

Ninety-eight to zero. That was the vote of the United States Senate in July 2006 in favor of re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law which this week came under withering — and disturbing — attack from conservative Supreme Court Justices during oral arguments in Shelby Co. v. Holder. At the very same time that Chief Justice Roberts was quoting dubious election statistics and Justice Scalia was claiming the protection of the right to vote was a "racial entitlement," states across the nation continued to press forward with voter suppression measures that underscored the need to continue to protect voting rights for all Americans:

Justice Scalia's comment that Congress overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize the VRA in 2006 because they were afraid to oppose a "racial entitlement" caused gasps in the courtroom and outrage afterwards. [Yahoo! News]

Massachusetts' Secretary of State challenged Chief Justice Roberts’ assertions about his state's turnout statistics during arguments: "I'm calling him out." [Boston Globe]

Do states still need the Voting Rights Act? [Frontline]

Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer answers in an op-ed: "yes." [Politico]

Alabama State Sen. Hank Sanders helped organize 200 people to come with him to hear the arguments in D.C. [Greenville Online]

An analysis of which states flipped their position on the VRA since the last time the Court considered the case. [NPR]

Voter suppression is clearly still alive and well in the South. [Kansas City Star]

Meanwhile, Michigan conservatives are pushing forward with a plan to rig the electoral vote in 2016. [Detroit News]

Rhode Island's Voter ID law may face changes or even repeal. [Rhode Island NPR]


Read the full Dispatch from March 2, 2013 here.