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March 6th, 2013

Reactions to Scalia’s ‘racial entitlement’ remarks



WASHINGTON, D.C. - Recently, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous released the following statement in response to remarks by Justice Antonin Scalia made during the official hearing on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in the United States Supreme Court.

"Democracy is an American entitlement. Voting rights protection is an American entitlement. Guaranteed access to the ballot box is not the right of one race, one age group, or one economic class. Assaulting the Voting Rights Act, on the other hand, is an assault on America’s ability to be America for all Americans," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP. "While much has changed since 1965, the record is clear that discriminatory election practices still exist in counties like Shelby County and states like Alabama.

"Justice Scalia should refrain from speculating on the thoughts and motivations of the Congress and defer to the judgment of the overwhelming bipartisan majority that voted for reauthorization in 2006."

During the hearing, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that the overwhelmingly bipartisan reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act in the past four decades was "very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement’." He continued, "whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes."

In 2006, compelled by 15,000 pages of evidence and testimony of discrimination, the 109th Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for 35 years. The reauthorization followed recent racially-motivated attacks on democracy by multiple jurisdictions. One notorious example was Kilmichael, Mississippi where the all-white board of alderman and white mayor cancelled an election after it became clear that blacks had become a majority of their city’s electorate. In 2006, Ken Mehlman, the National Chairman of the Republican Party, joined his Democratic colleague in calling for reauthorization and referred to the Voting Rights Act as "one of the great moral achievements of the 20th Century."

The NAACP, through its Alabama State Conference, is an intervener in Shelby County v. Holder and the Texas, South Carolina and Florida State Conferences have filed an amicus brief in support of Section 5. In addition to defending the Voting Rights Act at the Supreme Court, NAACP leaders will work with state and local officials to pass laws to expand voting rights, including same day registration/voting, extended early voting, and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.


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Reader Response
  • Ajay Jain
  • March 11th, 2013 The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court: Discrimination is alive today unfortunately; Liberty and justice for all is openly sabotaged and the Supreme Court is inviting trouble of great magnitudnal proportions if it dares to fail its ultimate mandate: to uphold everyone's constitutional rights.

    We not only need to keep the protections in the current Voting Rights Act (VRA), it should be expanded. The numerous despicable attempts to restrict voting made during the last election cycle are proof of that. Anyone who truly believes the VRA is obsolete needs to recognize, given last year's voter suppression efforts, the Jim Crowe era is biding its time, lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to rear its head once again.

    If properly educated and aroused to stand up against Supreme Court activism from the bench the entire nation will speak against it because the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is not about political parties; the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is about individual rights protection. Bank on it! it is time to review; the Supreme Court's Justice Scalia's attack on VRA as racial entitlements will not stand the test of time. If the Supreme Court does not uphold the Voting Rights ACT it is no longer acting as an unbiased institution and that, its Justices, can be challenged in public. Supreme Court Justices, get up and do your job or we will make it happen! Count on it!

    Now Even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights act on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end's on this ? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ? Well I will tell you what I think. I think there may be a dozen or two, man and women (Billionaires) in America that have the means to buy the power it wants to call all shots in this Country. The only way they can obtain this right now is get the people they want in office. To buy them so to say. But they know they can be stopped at the voting polls as proven in the 2012 election. They know the more that get out and vote there chances are reduced substantially.

    Commentator George Will knows that VRA is relatively not very old and should be ashamed of his views on VRA. He says VRA is 47 years old. Is that old ? I don't think so. Look at the constitution, at that II Amendment a lot older right. SS, Medicare, still very new in the big picture. But look at who wants to change

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