We don't pay too much attention to oral arguments before the US Supreme Court. The last time we did, it was when the nine justices were considering the Affordable Care Act. Wednesday, the next to last day of Black History Month had people paying attention once again. The high court decided to take up the constitutionality of Section Five of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
One can argue about whether they should have done so or not, and we certainly don't know yet how they'll rule. But the words of Justice Antonin Scalia stained the arguments like dirt stains a pair of jeans. This most conservative justice labeled the most recent extension of the Act by Congress to be "a perpetuation of racial entitlement."
First, let's call this statement what it is: racist, plain and simple. The iconic civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis was kind when he called it appalling. An honorable person would have recused his or herself and immediately apologized. But as we all know, a lifetime appointment means never having to say you're sorry.
Worse yet, Scalia's insult took place on the same day a statue horning Rosa Parks was unveiled in the nation's capital. One guesses this is how the man celebrates Black History Month. And what of "Silent" Clarence Thomas? He agrees with Scalia about almost everything else. One wonders what he thought of his good friend's characterization. Guess we'll never know.
Scalia and his cronies will now go down in history as justices (sic?) who believe corporations are people and therefore entitled to steer the outcome of elections with their money, but actual voters don't count nearly as much when it comes to protecting their right to exercise their franchise.
As for the argument that "The South has changed", fine. How about we apply that same logic to the Second Amendment? Weapons have changed just like the South has. Should we junk the Second Amendment like Scalia wants to junk the Voting Rights Act?