Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; . . .
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
We are rapidly approaching the point at which we no longer will be able to govern ourselves; we barely are dong so now. For the worst among us, who are full of passionate intensity, that is the desired result. Republicans in Congress oppose any attempt to assist those in need, or even to put the economy back in order. In no small part they are following the lead of their corporate masters, for whom government is the enemy: the enemy, that is, of profits undiluted by wages or taxes. They dream of the "free market," an imaginary state of unregulated activity. Being good conservatives, they are part of a tradition: "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all."
Ideology also enters into the anti-statist attitude. Tenthers, nullifiers, Tea Partiers, conspiracy nuts and "patriots" claim that the federal government is an engine of tyranny which must be destroyed. In their disdain for the state, reactionary conservatives are, ironically, in agreement with communists, although Grover Norquist’s fantasy of drowning the government in a bathtub is a bit more violent than the Marxist notion of the state’s withering away. Actually, they are more in step with the movement known as collectivist anarchism; they concur with its philosopher Michael Bakunin, for whom "the term ‘state’ epitomized all the evil which must be banished from the world."
As to the dithering best, we have a prime example in our President. He has ready access to the media and through them to the people, but he rarely uses his opportunities. The fallacy of many right-wing positions could be exposed if only he would say something but, whether through lack of conviction or timidity, he lets the nonsense pass unchallenged. Not even our modified, shifted-to-the-right center can hold if all of the pull is from one side.
63. Yeats, The Second Coming
64.Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, p. 132
65. Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, p. 204
Friday, July 5, 2013
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 employed extraordinary measures to address an extraordinary problem. Section 5 of the Act required States to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to voting — a drastic departure from basic principles of federalism. And §4 of the Act applied that requirement only to some States — an equally dramatic departure from the principle that all States enjoy equal sovereignty.
Outside the strictures of the Supremacy Clause, States retain broad autonomy in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Constitution provides that all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the States or citizens. Amdt. 10.
"[T]he Framers of the Constitution intended the States to keep for themselves, as provided in the Tenth Amendment, the power to regulate elections."
[T]he Act "authorizes federal intrusion into sensitive areas of state and local policymaking," . . . and represents an "extraordinary departure from the traditional course of relations between the States and the Federal Government . . . ."
Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In acceptable legislative fashion, . . . Congress chose to limit its attention to the geographic areas where immediate action seemed necessary. . . . The doctrine of the equality of States, invoked by South Carolina, does not bar this approach, for that doctrine applies only to the terms upon which States are admitted to the Union, and not to the remedies for local evils which have subsequently appeared. 
(1) Significant progress has been made in eliminating first generation barriers experienced by minority voters, including increased numbers of registered minority voters, minority voter turnout, and minority representation in Congress, State legislatures, and local elected offices. [The majority opinion quoted only this much.] This progress is the direct result of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. . . .
(3) The continued evidence of racially polarized voting in each of the jurisdictions covered by the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 demonstrates that racial and language minorities remain politically vulnerable, warranting the continued protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. . . .
(5) The evidence clearly shows the continued need for Federal oversight in jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since 1982 . . . .
(7) Despite the progress made by minorities under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the evidence before Congress reveals that 40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of disregard for the dictates of the 15th amendment and to ensure that the right of all citizens to vote is protected as guaranteed by the Constitution. . . .
(9) The record compiled by Congress demonstrates that, without the continuation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protections, racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or will have their votes diluted, undermining the significant gains made by minorities in the last 40 years. 
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees held 21 hearings, heard from scores of witnesses, received a number of investigative reports and other written documentation of continuing discrimination in covered jurisdictions. In all, the legislative record Congress compiled filled more than 15,000 pages. . . . The compilation presents countless "examples of flagrant racial discrimination" since the last reauthorization; Congress also brought to light systematic evidence that "intentional racial discrimination in voting remains so serious and widespread in covered jurisdictions that section 5 preclearance is still needed."
58. South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 328 (1966).
59. The dissent was written by Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor. The majority, in addition to the Chief Justice, included Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito.