Home / General / <i>Shelby County</i>: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Shelby County: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Chief-Justice-John-Roberts

John Roberts’s masterpiece in the field of self-refuting simulacra of constitutional law continues to have the desired effect:

On Thursday, federal district court judge Henry Hudson upheld Virginia’s voter ID law, despite hearing many stories like Okiakpe’s of voters burdened by the law. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee once known as “Hang ‘Em High Henry” for his tough on crime record, was also the first judge to rule against Obamacare. His decision will make it harder for the 200,000 Virginia voters without a driver’s license to cast a ballot.

Virginia first passed a voter-ID law in 2012, which accepted non-photo IDs like a utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, government check, or Social Security card. The Justice Department approved the law. But after Barack Obama carried Virginia in 2012, the GOP-controlled legislature significantly toughened the law, accepting “only drivers licenses, voter ID cards, student IDs, and concealed handgun permits,” MSNBC reported.

The change needed approval from the DOJ or a federal court, but was allowed to go into effect after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, ruling that states like Virginia with a long history of voting discrimination no longer had to submit their voting changes for federal approval. (The state tried to exclude any “evidence of Virginia’s history of racial discrimination” from being heard in the case as “not relevant.”)

[…]

There’s now overwhelming evidence that voter-ID laws are designed not to combat nonexistent voter impersonation but to make it harder for Democratic-leaning constituencies to vote. Yet conservative judges in states like Virginia and North Carolina keep upholding these laws.

This underscores the importance of changing the courts, particularly the Supreme Court that gutted the VRA. Donald Trump released his short list of very conservative Supreme Court nominees this week. It’s important to remember that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would appoint very different people to the bench.

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