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Today in Post-Racial America



Scott is right that Shelby County is far and away the worst decision of the Roberts Court. It tilts far toward the Plessy point. Southern states used it as an excuse to do what they have always wanted to do–stop black people from voting.

When the deputy sheriff’s patrol cruiser pulled up beside him as he walked down Broad Street at sunset last August, Martee Flournoy, a 32-year-old black man, was both confused and rattled. He had reason: In this corner of rural Georgia, African-Americans are arrested at a rate far higher than that of whites.

But the deputy had not come to arrest Mr. Flournoy. Rather, he had come to challenge Mr. Flournoy’s right to vote.

The majority-white Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration was systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 black Sparta citizens — a fifth of the city’s registered voters — by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights. “When I read that letter, I was kind of nervous,” Mr. Flournoy said in an interview. “I didn’t know what to do.”

The board’s aim, a lawsuit later claimed, was to give an edge to white candidates in Sparta’s municipal elections — and that November, a white mayoral candidate won a narrow victory.

It would be amazing that the Supreme Court threw out the most important part of the Voting Rights Act if it wasn’t already clear that the Party of Calhoun will never accept blacks as citizens.

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  • Peterr

    If 180 voters = 20% of the registered voters, that means roughly 900 voters on the rolls. If you figure 50% turnout for a given election, that means 450 voters casting ballots. To win, you’d need 225 votes.

    180 is a very good start at reaching 225, if they could decide who to get behind.

  • dp

    What an amazing coincidence that this crap started before the ink was dry on Shelby County.

    I’m sure there’s a rational explanation for that.

  • Breadbaker

    if it wasn’t already clear that the Party of Calhoun will never accept blacks as citizens

    I’m just waiting for Alito to argue that Dred Scott is in fact still good law. I mean, if Roberts can ignore clause 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment, why not ignore Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment? After all, Trump has already pretty much said he would.

    • Craigo

      If you want to be technically and not actually correct, Dred Scott was never overturned by the Supreme Court.

      • Breadbaker

        Yes, it was overturned by Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Article V of the Constitution, not Supreme Court decisions, is actually how the Framers envisioned fixing things like Dred Scott. In this case, Congress and the states took care of it before the Supreme Court ever had to. And once they did, there was no possible case or controversy to let the Supreme Court decide otherwise.

        Until Shelby County established the principle of whatever Mr. Balls and Strikes wanted to pull out of his ass.

        {to be clear, the word “appropriate” in Section 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment means Congress can’t mandate everyone has to change underwear every half hour and wear underwear outside so we can check under the Fifteenth Amendment).

  • JohnT

    Although in practice I would hesitate to criminalise political acts, morally some of the people organising this kind of crap belong in jail. I had the same reaction when i read the 4th circuit’s description of how the NC legislature carefully asked for all the right paperwork to make sure that their stunts would hit black people disproportionately. Jim Crow was an evil system and restoring it even a bit is evil, as well

  • cpinva

    this story came out a few days ago. i had no idea election boards even had the authority to issue summonses, or subpoenas, of any kind. i had always been under the impression the local district/commonwealth’s attorney did that. if true, then they are working in collusion, to attempt to keep the black population from voting. i do hope DOJ looks into this, now that it’s become a national story.

  • LiveFreeOrShop

    The truly hitting-face-on-desk part of Shelby is the fact that the 13th, 14th, AND 15th amendments say:

    “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    How fucking much plainer does it have to be?

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