Justice Scalia Should Apologize Not only to Black Americans, But to All Americans



Yesterday during the arguments before the Supreme Court on whether to preserve and protect  Section 5 of the Great Society's watershed Voting Act of 1965, Justice Scalia interjected a very  invidious obiter dictum. Commenting on  the renewal of the Voting Act in 2006, Scalia said it was a "perpetuation of racial entitlement".  In one fell swoop the flaming Conservative jurist managed  to insult and dishonor  not only  the   Black America community as a whole,  but also  the memories of the great leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the past  century: Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, A Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young.  And the lone survivor  of that  so-called "Big  Six", Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

Ironically, on the same day that  Scalia scoffed at the seminal  importance of the Voting Act and implied Black Americans were demanding more than just the  fundamental right that all Americans take for granted, another champion of civil rights was being honored in the Capitol Building.  A statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled there  and dedicated by President Obama. "We do well," the President said , " by placing a statue of her here. But we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forever the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction."

Congressman Lewis demonstrated the same kind of " courage born of conviction" when he as one of the original Freedom Riders was physically and brutally  beaten riding through South Carolina and Alabama in the 1960s. In an interview during the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, he reflected on what it all meant: "We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened but we had made up our minds not to turn back."

At a time when voter ID laws, redistricting, and the  curtailing of  opportunities to vote have threatened to disenfranchise Black and Hispanic Americans alike, this is not the time to turn back.

Or have a Supreme Court Justice suggest all the sacrifices and all the pain and suffering  were merely  about a "racial entitlement".




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  • I'm not quite as sure about that, although apparently "original intent" doesn't encompass the 14th and 15th Amendment in Scalia's view.

    The question, though, whether the 102 year old woman at the State of the Union had to stand in line because of racial animus or because Florida is all screwed up. And the pertinent question is whether certain southern states should be subject to preclearance, when states like Illinois have figured out all sorts of ways to deprive its citizens of the franchise (such as the original punch card ballot, scan ballots that don't fit the scanner, and, of course, rampant gerrymandering).

  • What tosh. He owes no one an apology. You are just a race baiter. The FACT is there is NO need for any state to come hat in hand to the federal gov't to plead with them to be allowed to change voting laws. THere are enough federal laws to prevent any abuses and the culture is not in any way similar to 1964.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Dissuade me from the view that in some states not only is the clock stuck at 1964, but that it may actually be earlier. Say, 1864ish. Mobile phones notwithstanding.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    You seem to gloss over the fact that he made the loaded comment.

  • I researched this on several sources, and it seems you may have gone a little overboard here, of course I may have missed some info.

    He's not saying the right to vote is a racial entitlement, it seems he's pointing out that some of the act might be abused. I know that it's not politically correct to point out racial entitlement abuse, but it happens all the time by those receiving and the politicians that are giving. It is human nature to abuse an entitlement, and it's human nature to self correct. Maybe I'm missing something.

    What I am sure of, is this type of 'waving the bloody flag', is dangerous. It's become way to easy to accuse people of racism and bigotry these days. If your wrong, the person accused pays a huge price by the accusation, but what do you pay, nothing.

    Maybe, Aquinas, your feeling a little vulnerable and your a little trigger happy to defend a group that you feel is vulnerable. If so, throw some dirt on it and get back out there, kid.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    I don't know what Scalia was exactly saying. But his choice was words was inappropriately provocative. He should have restricted his remarks to the merits of the arguments and dispensed with ideological and partisan characterizations. I did not accuse him of racism or bigotry, but if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck..........

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    But his choice of words was inappropriately provocative.

  • Thanks for covering this today, Aquinas. That's a good Obama quote. But Third Coast | Third World had other fish to fry today.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    And I'm only a hop, skip, and a jump from Alsip. Thanks for writing.

  • Mmm, what avant garde friends your making. 'Fight the power' and 'down with whitey', your so Hollywood Aquinas.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    When it comes to truth and justice, we are all one.

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