Commentary

National political columnist lambastes NC voting rights decision

Voting rightsOne of America’s funniest and most insightful political columnists has authored a succinct and excellent take-down of Judge Thomas Schroeder’s lame but predictable approval of North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law.

Here’s Esquire’s Charles Pierce in “North Carolina’s Voting Laws Are Conspicuously Suppressing the Vote: And yet they were just upheld by a Bush-appointed judge”:

Did you hear the trumpets in the sky Monday evening? The Day of Jubilee has sounded again, this time in North Carolina.

In his ruling, the judge suggested that past discrimination had abated. “There is significant, shameful past discrimination,” he wrote. “In North Carolina’s recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there is little official discrimination to consider.”

In upholding the voter suppression laws in the now consistently insane state of North Carolina, Judge Thomas Schroeder, another gift to the Republic from the late Avignon Presidency, has walked right on the same glory road that led Chief Justice John Roberts to cut the viscera from the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County. The conservative movement has worked hard to salt the federal judiciary with people who believe that government has done all it can in the fight against institutional racism, and that the fight itself was won decades ago, and that the country never backslides once it has achieved progress. Combined with this fantastical vision of a country that exists somewhere between the Western Isles and the Big Rock Candy Mountain, these judges also appear completely oblivious to how most people—and especially, most poor people—actually exist in the world. And it is all of a piece. Once Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee, every likeminded federal judge in the system sang along with the choir. It is truly a remarkable, and systemic, triumph of politics over one of the three branches of the federal government.

“North Carolina has provided legitimate state interests for its voter ID requirement and electoral system,” Judge Schroeder said near the end of his 485-page opinion. The judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush, found that North Carolina’s system was not beyond “the mainstream of other states.”

The “legitimate state interest” is, of course, the battle against practically non-existent voter fraud. And, of course, the argument that North Carolina’s system was not beyond “the mainstream of other states” could have been made honestly in 1955 as regards, say, the poll tax. This decision is a magnificent demonstration of the power of strategic denial.

As to the tenuous connection that Judge Schroeder’s decision has with the real world, we only have to look back a little more than a month, when North Carolina ran its primaries, which were the first elections to be conducted under the law that Schroeder now has upheld. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, and especially not to the people who designed this law, the election was a huge and chewy cluster of fck.

Pierce goes on to explore and explain how the Monster Voting Law has already had a disastrous impact on North Carolina — particularly in last month’s primary election. Click here to read the entire post.

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