If there's one thing that yesterday's proceedings did tell us, it's something that was already obvious to me the first time I had the "pleasure" of meeting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when he spoke at the University of Southern Mississippi: Scalia is a racist, sexist, homophobic asshole.
Scalia is, after all, the same guy who said that neither gays nor women are protected from discrimination by the Constitution.
Scalia is preparing to strike down a major section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act because, well, racism is over, right? Section 5, which Scalia seems prepared to strike, is the section that ensures that states with uncommonly malicious violations of civil rights – states like Mississippi – cannot arbitrarily change or revise voting laws without federal approval. That's why Mississippi's Voter ID law, which was designed to suppress minority voting, didn't go into law before last years election.
But onto Scalia's jackassery.
"Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes," Scalia argued in Shelby County. v. Holder.
Ah, racial entitlements, eh? "Entitlement" is a beloved term among conservatives that is often used to refer to what they see among blacks as a sense that they are entitled to be treated fairly and equally under the law. How dare those black "people" believe that they are entitled to be treated with equal human dignity!
Keep blowing the dogwhistle, Justice Scalia.
"Even the name of it is is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?" Scalia asked. He said that the act created "black districts by law."
Sadly, Scalia was totally bamboozled by the wonderful name of the Patriot Act when the issue arose in 2003:
Scalia said the more irresponsible and violent a society becomes, the more citizens' freedoms will be restricted. He said that U.S.citizens tend to interpret the Constitution as giving them more power than the document provides.Justice Scalia, who has never been shy about spouting homophobic and sexist bile in the name of jurisprudence certainly didn't mind to continue to do so today. His "racial entitlements" language in regard to the Voting Rights Act proves all by itself that we aren't beyond race; one of our most influential Supreme Court Justices clearly isn't. If anyone here exhibits a sense of "racial entitlement," it is Justice Antonin Scalia, who exudes what one might call "white entitlement."
His comments were so obviously dripping with racist sentiment that he may as well go back to the "Welfare Queen" arguments of the man who appointed him, President Ronald Reagan.
If Antonin Scalia really thought racism was over, he wouldn't be perpetuating racial stereotypes even as he argues that racism is over. But the mess that was 2012 voting in minority communities proves that problems still exist; it is no accident that black and Hispanic voters had to wait, on average, twice as long to vote in 2012.
Here's another sticking point, brought out by Chief Justice John Roberts:
Chief Justice John Roberts sharply questioned Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, asking him whether it was the position of the U.S. government that residents of Southern states -- most of the jurisdictions covered by Section 5 are in the South -- are more racist than those of Northern states.Dear Justice John Roberts: You obviously have never lived in Mississippi. But let me give you a very simple response: Hell yes, Southern states are more racist than Northern states. I do live in Mississippi and, yes, I'll say it again: Southern states are more racist than Northern states – at least as a matter of public policy. Overturn Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and you will see an onslaught of laws designed to conspicuously bolster rural conservative white voters while holding back black voting in the state – even without the overt-Jim Crow tactics. It will indeed happen. Racism isn't just about screaming words like "nigger" and running around in sheets and burning crosses. It runs far, far deeper. And yes, it still exists. Just look at your fellow justice, Justice Antonin Scalia, for clear evidence of it.