Left-wing groups are up in arms after this morning’s oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that challenges the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — because it looks like five of the Justices might just vote against the now-obsolete act (as John Yoo and I advocate below in separate posts).
But the most furious response came in response to Antonin Scalia, who brushed aside the pseudo-argument that the VRA was “overwhelmingly” reauthorized by Congress in 2006, correctly noting that politicians lack the courage to repeal “racial entitlements.” Racial entitlements? Why, that’s racist talk, screams the left.
Scalia is right. In 1965, the VRA was a justifiable piece of temporary, remedial legislation. In 2013, it is simply a guarantee that African-Americans and Hispanics in certain states and localities have an absolute right to racially-gerrymandered districts to assure that they can elect members of their own ethnicities. The federal government has a veto over all local decisions that imperil that guarantee.
If that’s not an entitlement, I don’t know what is. It’s an entitlement that doesn’t extend, for example, to Asians or Native Americans. It doesn’t even extend to blacks and Hispanics in non-covered jurisdictions such as Massachusetts, which, in fact, has the greatest disparity in black vs. white voter registration in the nation.