Sunday, June 30, 2013

People For The American Way Makes The Case For Defeating Conservatives


Yesterday we tried our hand at explaining how the Supreme Court's narrowly partisan decision to void the Voting Rights Act is a catastrophe that is not ameliorated by the nice pat on the head they have the LGBT community the following day. Few organizations have fought harder and as effectively as People For the American Way when it comes to LGBT equality. This week, the organization's president, Michael Keegan, warned about the consequences of the Voting Rights Act decision, warning that we MUST remember what they did in 2016.
It's been a week of mixed emotions for those of us who care about civil rights. There was the elation today when the Supreme Court overturned the so-called Defense of Marriage Act-- the discriminatory law that has hurt so many Americans in its nearly 17 years of existence-- and let marriage equality return to California. There was the anger when the Court twisted the law to make it harder for workers and consumers to take on big corporations. And there was the disbelief and outrage when the Court declared that a key part of the Voting Rights Act that was so important and had worked so well was now somehow no longer constitutional.

But throughout the week, I have been reminded of one thing: how grateful I am that Mitt Romney will not be picking the next Supreme Court justice.

It remains true that this Supreme Court is one of the most right-leaning in American history. The majority's head-in-the-sand decision on the Voting Rights Act-- declaring that the VRA isn't needed anymore because it's working so well-- was a stark reminder of why we need to elect presidents who will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand both the text and history of the Constitution and the way it affects real people's lives.

We were reminded of this again today when all the conservative justices except for Anthony Kennedy stood behind the clearly unconstitutional DOMA. Justice Antonin Scalia-- no stranger to anti-gay rhetoric-- wrote an apoplectic rant of a dissent denying the Court's clear role in preserving equal protection. If there had been one more far-right justice on the court, Scalia's dissent could have been the majority opinion.

Just think of how different this week would have been if Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were not on the court and if John McCain had picked two justices instead. We almost certainly wouldn't have a strong affirmation of LGBT equality. Efforts to strip people of color of their voting rights would likely have stood with fewer justices in dissent. And the rights of workers and consumers could be in even greater peril.

As the Republican party moves further and further to the right, it is trying to take the courts with it. This week, we saw what that means in practice. As we move forward to urge Congress to fix the Voting Rights Act and reinforce protections for workers and consumers, and work to make sure that marriage equality is recognized in all states, we must always remember the courts. Elections have real consequences. These Supreme Court decisions had less to do with evolving legal theory than with who appointed the justices. Whether historically good or disastrous, all these decisions were decided by just one vote. In 2016, let's not forget what happened this week.

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At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Keegan says: "In 2016, let's not forget what happened this week."

Apparently, like many "Democrats," Mr Keegan fails to understand neither 1) the significance of the SCOTUS ruling to which he refers nor 2) the unrelenting, anti-democratic focus of those for whom it was made.

Within hours of the ruling, GOP-controlled state legislatures redoubled their ONGOING, nationwide efforts to restrict rights of voters thought likely to vote for Dems.

The next election is 2014, Mr Keegan, and by then the GOP will have in place even more repressive voting laws and election fraud schemes.

This includes states never covered by the VRA.

The likes of the DCCC and the fact that 21 Dem (vs 14 Repub) senate seats are up for election in 2014, makes it very likely that the GOP will control BOTH federal houses (and maybe a few more than the 30 states it controls now) ... for the 2 LONG years before the 2016 election.

THAT will insure that only nothing will be done to revive the intent of the VRA but, likely, that the "full intent" of the SCOTUS ruling will be realized by the monsters in our midst.

This means that action must be taken NOW. By 2016 it will be much too late.

However, it's is not clear what the basically blind and spineless Dems can manage at this point.

John Puma


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