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In Which Justices Do Not Understand Institutional Discrimination

February 27, 2013 by and tagged

So, this Alabama county does not think it needs to still implement provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the case is now before the US Supreme Court:

“Shelby County says it is no longer necessary to require places with a history of racial discrimination to get approval to modify election laws.

The requirement is part of the Voting Rights Act, extended for 25 years in 2006 with wide bipartisan support.

(…)

The Voting Rights Act, passed at the height of the US civil rights movement, requires strict federal oversight of election laws in nine states, most in the US South, as well as in a few jurisdictions in other states.”

So, first this:

“Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote on many politically charged issues, said during arguments that “times change”.”

And then this:

“Chief Justice John Roberts asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who represents the Obama administration, whether the administration thought Southerners “are more racist than citizens in the North”.

Mr Verrilli replied no.”

Well, maybe not but both Kennedy and Roberts miss the point of the deep, long-lasting, and not individually-based power of institutional discrimination. So whether or not Southerners are more racist than others is beside the point and irrelevant. It is the same denial of institutional realities always invoked against affirmative action as well. And “times change” means diddly squat.

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