[personal profile] snarp
Because it's not like nonwhite people or those otherwise known to vote "wrong" ever get turned away from the polls due to spurious horseshit these days.

Oh wait no that is in fact the case.

Seriously, literally all that section 5 said was that particularly hate-crime-prone states have to show changes to their voting procedures or redistricting plans to the Justice Department before implementing them. This is done on the basis that common sense suggests that they are more likely than other places to require "Arabian-looking" people to sing the Star-Spangled Banner in order to access the polls, or chop a primarily-black community into nineteen separate voting districts, or whatever.

So it's not exactly an unreasonable requirement. The only problem with it is that it's too limited; it does not, for example, cover my ridiculous state, home of the nation's largest concentration of KKK members. Because we're super responsible about electoral shit.

Here's an overly-mild description of the decision's implications by a someone at the Washington Post. There are four things he fails to address adequately:

1) This decision places the burden on disenfranchised voters to prove in court that they've been disenfranchised, rather than on the state to prove that they're acting fairly. This is, to use legal terminology, complete bullshit.

Despite the hysteria in the news whenever such a case comes up, it's actually very hard to find lawyers willing to take gerrymandering and voter-discrimination lawsuits, because they're usually not going to make money. These cases are expensive, and politically-disenfranchised communities are by definition pretty poor. If a lawyer's got enough capital to fund this sort of case on his/her own, s/he's probably not going to want to, because s/he probably got that way at least in part by means of the corrupt processes which led to the problem in the first place.

TL;DR, systematic injustice is systematic. Hope that didn't blow anyone's mind.

Also, s/he's probably an old white guy. Rich old white guys have been definitively scientifically and economically proven to be the most morally bankrupt demographic. It are a fact. I know it because of my learnings.

2) If you do go to court, there's a chance you'll get removed to federal court, because these are civil rights cases, and civil rights cases belong in federal court. In Kentucky, your case will invariably be thrown out, because the Federal Sixth District is mostly Bush appointees, who do not believe in civil rights.

Now, if there was a chance of a suit of this kind prevailing in federal court - I don't know, there may be in other judicial districts! - there would be some financial incentive for lawyers to take the cases on and actually take them seriously. This is because civil rights cases are attorney-fee cases, which removes most of the financial burden from the plaintiffs.

But again, that's just not going to happen in the sixth district.

3) If you stay in state court, and you're in a state in which your judges are elected (most of them), your case is dependent upon whether the judge him/herself has benefited, or can expect to benefit, from the political atmosphere which created the discriminatory policies you're suing over. If you're in the south and your judge is a white conservative, they've benefitted, and they know it.

It's not impossible for judges to have a strong enough sense of integrity to act impartially (!), but there isn't exactly any incentive for it in this situation. There's also little incentive for attorneys to take the case, because there's no attorney-fee requirement in state court.

This is, of course, the sort of problem which removal to federal court and the attorney fee requirement were designed to solve; if you go before the local judge, you're going before the local Good Ol' Boys, and you wouldn't be there in the first place if the Good Ol' Boys were on your side.

4) Even if you win your case, it can take years to get through all the appeals, and you'll be getting hate mail and threats of murder every goddamn day. Some of it will be handwritten via fax. I assume that this is because, among old white guys, believing you know better than everyone else is negatively-correlated with knowing how to send an email.

In summary, the United States is terrible, as usual. Return to your business, rest of the world, assured that the status quo has been maintained for another day.
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