The time for the voting rights act and affirmative action may have run out…

Seems like to me it is time for affirmative action and special enforcement in the voting rights act to end. I am not convinced that the idea of discriminating against the formerly favored class in order to make up for the wrongful discrimination of the formerly unfavored class was ever right to begin with, but that is history, or should be.

In college in a constitutional law class I suggested in a paper that the remedy, or at least a possible remedy in some cases, for unfair discrimination in hiring would be to put the names of equally qualified candidates, irrespective of race of course, into a hat or a lottery and to pick them out at random. The liberal woman professor was dubious, to say the least, of that.

And maybe Justice Antonin Scalia was right to question the continued need for the Voting Rights act of 1965 and its special control over election procedures in several states.

The conservatives on the high court have indicated skepticism over both the special oversight in the voting rights act and affirmative action policies too in the 1960s civil rights legislation.

The only special procedures needed, and they should not be special, is to allow citizens to vote, regardless of race, color, or creed. If a person is turned down for voting there has to be a reason. I know some states do not allow ex-felons to vote and others do. And while knowledge of the issues and the political process would be nice, we cannot require that, if for no other reason than the test and standards applied would be subjective and would almost certainly be weighted in favor of some political persuasion. Sadly, even literacy cannot be required. In order to have a free society everyone must be able to vote.

(Of course literacy tests were used in the South to bar blacks from voting. The old story is that one test actually asked how many bubbles in a bar of soap, and I don‘t know what the correct answer was for that.)

I’m not up on the provisions of the voting rights act. It may be that it is needed to give the federal Justice Department authority to monitor and look out for unfair and discriminatory activities in the registration of voters. But this should apply for the equal protection of all voters everywhere, and not just the historically discriminated class. While we may well still have discrimination we will never move beyond racial discrimination if we keep making special rules for one class as if they could not take care of themselves (that is discrimination in and of itself that actually hurts that class).

It might be nice if Justice Scalia was somewhat more diplomatic and less insulting. He talked of the dangers of perpetuating “racial entitlements”, meaning, one must suppose, that black people are getting favored treatment (as the result of past discrimination). But how do you say enough is enough, let’s move beyond the 60s?

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