Field of Science

Do SCOTUS justices have defective memories?

50 years is a long time, but not so long that TPP has forgotten the 1960s, his high school and college years.  In those days TPP was very involved in social justice and civil rights, a typical activist and supporter of civil liberties.  The lessons of those years certainly helped bolster my "liberal" (in the classic sense) attitudes and political leanings.  True many of the outward manifestations of racism have disappeared.  As a child brought up in upstate NY, when visiting his southern kin (up north we had relatives), he got very confused about the notion of "colored" water provided by an obvious choice of drinking fountains, and he wanted the colored water of course.  Now there's only one fountain, but you can bet certain people will not use it as a result. The voting rights act may be based upon out-dated data, and quite reasonably SCOTUS could have ruled that the data should be updated, say based on the past decade, but no.  The conservative justices' ruling seemed to suggest that racism is gone, that no attempts were being made to disenfranchise minority voters, or change voting districts or rules to limit minority representation.  Don't the SCOTUS justices remember the 1960s?  Did the SCOTUS justices check the record to see how many recent voting rights litigations there have been?  The list was easy to find.  Here's a recent one, and fairly typical.
United States v. Town of Lake Park, FL (S.D. Fla. 2009)
On October 26, 2009, the Court entered a consent judgment and decree replacing the current at-large method of election with a limited voting plan providing for the election of four Commissioners with concurrent terms. On March 31, 2009, the Department filed a complaint against the Town of Lake Park in Palm Beach County, FL for violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The complaint alleges that the Town's at-large system of electing its Commissioners denies black voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice. Although black voting age citizens compose 38% of Lake Park's total citizen voting age population, no black candidate ever has been elected to office since the Town's founding in 1923.
That's only 86 years!  How could this be a problem?  Is this part of the out-of-date data that invalidated the VRA?  This was the whole point of Voting Rights Act wasn't it?  Voting units from towns to states were routinely and regularly violating people's rights particularly racial minorities, and they still do.  Well, those who forget the past are doomed to let these mistakes repeat, and the big mistake of the conservative justices is to forget that the primary constitutional freedom they are to protect is equal treatment under the law.  But as Justice Scalia has so amply demonstrated in his descent of the DOMA ruling; you can put a black robe on a bigot, but you still got a bigot.   


GamesWithWords said...

Without reading the rest of the post: yes. Decades of memory research shows that *everyone* has defective memories.

BTW If you are ever on a jury, do not believe the eye-witness testimony.

The Phytophactor said...

Thought you were going to drag out the "if you remember the 60s, you weren't there" quip.