Nothing is sacred to Republicans – except Donald Trump. Everything is at stake now


They have been seeking the right to abortion for decades. The next thing they did was attack the Voting Rights Act. And look: they will go after Brown v. Board of Education and Civil Rights Act.

Nothing is more sacred to Republicans. Not the right to vote. No right to be free from search and seizure of your own home. Not the right to be free of religion if you wish. No right to be free from discrimination based on race, sex, creed or national origin. The only “right” they respect these days is the right to follow Donald Trump, and they are turning that right, at least within their own Republican Party, into an obligation. Having rights, such as those listed in the Bill of Rights, is a founding principle of democracy. Imposing obligations, such as the obligation to unquestionably join a leader, is a principle of authoritarianism.

The Republican Party has turned against democracy. They won’t let anything get in their way. This week, the Supreme Court, with six justices appointed by Republican presidents, agreed to hear a case stemming from a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Just yesterday, the state governor of Texas signed a law banning all abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant – and before most women get pregnant. realize that they are, in fact, pregnant. A similar bill was enacted in South Carolina in February. The state of Tennessee passed a fetal heart rate law last year. The voluntary state now has a bill under consideration that would allow the father of an unborn child, even if that father is a rapist who caused the pregnancy, to obtain a court order preventing the mother from being pregnant. have an abortion. The father’s veto over mother’s abortion rights would be absolute, putting men, even criminals, in overall control of women’s bodies. According to NARAL Pro Choice America, more than 60 tickets were introduced or passed in state legislatures this year to restrict abortion.

The defenestration of the Voting Rights Act is all the proof you need the Republican Party to refute the Civil War with words. Chief Justice John Roberts relied on the principle of so-called “equal sovereignty” to justify overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required nine states, mostly in the South deep, obtain prior authorization from the Department of Justice before changing their voting laws. Congress included the pre-clearance provision in law because the Deep South states had a long history of restricting the voting rights of black citizens. Justice Roberts concluded in his ruling that treating states “unequally” by requiring some states to obtain prior authorization without requiring the same from others was unconstitutional. He went on to say that the examples of southern states discriminating against the voting rights of their black citizens were 40 years old and could therefore be dismissed as relics from another era.

In a previous ruling in 2007, Roberts wrote that “the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”, which is to say that “the way to to stop getting wet is to get out of the rain, “unaware that you might get wet because someone is pouring water on you.

This is what was happening with blacks voting in the Deep South, of course. Blacks did not vote because they were not allowed to vote. Using Roberts’ reasoning, the way to allow black people to vote was to allow black people to vote. But that’s not how it worked. States passed voter registration requirements that they knew black citizens would not be able to meet, which prevented black citizens from voting.

The year after the Voting Rights Act was passed, a southern state passed a law requiring potential voters to produce identification to register. The Justice Department, in its pre-clearance process, found that the law discriminates on the basis of race because black citizens of the state were much less likely to have identification documents such as driving license, as many blacks in the mid-1960s in the south did not own a car and therefore did not have the opportunity to drive.

Within 24 hours of Shelby County’s 2013 ruling, the state of Texas announced it would implement a strict voter identification law that had already been passed and then overturned by a federal court ruling. Two other states, Mississippi and Alabama, began enforcing voter identification laws that had been banned under the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act. Two months after Shelby County, North Carolina passed a particularly harsh voter suppression bill that included a strict voter identification requirement.

Within five years of the Supreme Court ruling, more than 1,000 polling stations had been closed, many of which were in predominantly black counties in the southern states. Other states had passed laws allowing the purging of voters’ lists and restricting early voting and postal voting.

In other words, states that were previously covered by the pre-authorization clause of the Voting Rights Act jumped for joy at their newfound freedom to restrict the voting rights of minority voters. The Voting Rights Act channels were removed, and still are. Three hundred and sixty-one bills limiting voting rights are being considered by legislatures in Republican-controlled states across the country. It’s an anti-democratic free for everyone out there.

What is happening is a total attack on two of the three amendments adopted after the civil war. The 13th Amendment ended slavery. The 14th The amendment extended full citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” and required that “no state promulgates or enforces any law which would shorten the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; neither state will. deprive anyone of life, liberty or property without legal process; nor deny anyone under its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. “

The 15th The amendment said that neither the United States nor “any state” could deny or curtail the right to vote “on the basis of race, color or a prior condition of servitude.”

You would think these words are easy to understand and straightforward. Reading Justice Roberts’ Shelby County decision proves you would be dead wrong. The Supreme Court and legislatures of Republican-controlled states across the country are finding new ways to get around the simple, straightforward words of the 14th and 15th amendments every day.

Not only Roe v. Wade, but Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act are in danger. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that separate schools were inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional. The 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal to discriminate in public places such as restaurants, hotels, and public transport on the basis of race. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal to the point of viability, when a fetus, if delivered, would likely survive outside the womb.

I am more and more afraid that we, the citizens of the United States, have built a house of cards out of the laws and the clear text of Supreme Court decisions and that this house is crumbling around us. The Republican Party has previously instigated a violent physical assault on our government house, the Capitol, and they daily attack the house of laws that have protected our most sacred democratic principles of equality based on gender, race and creed. . Nothing is certain. Justice Roberts and his “brethren” once told us that they believe states should be treated the same, but people don’t need to be. Through this gate are segregated schools, the end of birthrights and restricted access to public premises. While it is unfair to prohibit some states from discriminating on the basis of race when voting, should it not be unfair to prohibit some states from discriminating in other ways?

My friends, we are back where we started. The words “equal sovereignty” are only an elegant way of saying “rights of states”. We are in a new civil war. The only question left is when the other side will stop using words to attack our laws and pick up their weapons.


About Therese Williams

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