Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, which is challenging the constitutionality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, specifically the provisions of Section 5, which require certain states to receive Federal permission before altering any of their voting laws.
Note that this law was so controversial that, when it was re-authorized in 2006, it squeaked through the Senate on a vote of 98 to 0.
During his questioning, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that the protections of Section 5 were a form of “racial entitlement” that the “normal political” process could not be trusted to get rid of, because no legislator would ever be brave enough to vote against something called the “Voting Rights Act.” It apparently did not occur to Justice Scalia that legislators of both parties had done their due diligence and determined that the law was still useful. One does not need to be brave in order to not be stupid.
I like Lawrence O’Donnell, a polished combination of eloquence and passionate pugnacity. Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, however, he more than any other host at MSNBC has allowed his rhetoric to get a little overheated when discussing the National Rifle Association. Even as a member of that group, I confess that I have little use for it and will probably let my membership lapse if it hasn’t already. If it’s not going to represent the views of 80% of its members, than the NRA doesn’t offer anything you can’t get from the Auto Club, namely hotel discounts.