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IS ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE SCOTUS ENDING THE 2ND RECONSTRUCTION?

June 11, 2018

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, June 11, 2018

 

IS ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE SCOTUS ENDING THE 2ND RECONSTRUCTION?

 

A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

 

Today in a 5-4 ruling, conservatives on the Supreme Court said Ohio could eliminate voters from the rolls for not voting.  Defenders of the decision saw it as cleaning voter rolls and stopping voter fraud.  Advocates of voting rights saw it as further evidence of voter suppression, resulting in disproportionately disenfranchising people of color, young people and the poor. 

 

Democrats win when there are more voters.  Republicans win when there are fewer voters.  This is a partisan political act by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

 

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “This purge program burdens the rights of eligible voters.  At best, purged voters are forced to needlessly reregister if they decide to vote in a subsequent election.”  Most of the people who will be purged will not have moved.

 

The Court’s minority argued that periodic voters, most often minorities, the young and poor people, simply ignore voter notices, leaving ‘not voting’ as the primary reason for deleting them, resulting in mostly poor people, young people and people of color being disenfranchised. 

 

Other states will take this ruling and use it in their states to reduce the number of voters. 

 

Ohio and other states are erecting needless hurdles that voting rights advocates have been trying to eliminate: targeted voter ID schemes; elimination of same-day, on-site voter registration; elimination of Souls to the Polls Sunday; a reduction in days of early voting; elimination of pre-registration of 16-and-17-year-olds, and more; all things that add voters to the rolls.

 

Following the Civil War there was a brief period of Reconstruction.  In 1875 legislation was passed to eliminate social discrimination and provide equal treatment of African Americans in all public places such as theaters, hotels and restaurants – not unlike the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

 

Then Democrats (the party of slavery past) regained control of the U.S. House and states and civil rights laws went unenforced.  Combined with a conservative Supreme Court deciding the Slaughterhouse cases (1873) ruling that the 14th Amendment could only be applied to federal laws not state laws (states’ rights); and the Cruikshank case that said only the states, not the federal government, could prosecute individuals under the Ku Klux Klan Act (1871); the First Reconstruction essentially came to an end.

 

Now a conservative Supreme Court and conservative Trump administration officials are undermining affirmative action, economic set-asides, public education and educational desegregation plans, city and police consent decrees and more, and on June 25, 2013 the Supreme Court gutted Section 5, the most important provision (preclearance) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, by declaring the Section 4 formula unconstitutional.  Is the Second Reconstruction being undermined in a similar fashion as the First Reconstruction?

 

It sure looks like it.

 

  

-30-

Frank Watkins
fwatkins@rainbowpush.org

 

Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justicearound the world.

 

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