Federal courts in North Carolina and Wisconsin ruled separately on Friday that bills passed by GOP-dominated legislators and signed by GOP Governors in both states were aimed for partisan reasons at suppressing African-American and other minority voters. In the Wisconsin case:
U.S. District Judge James Peterson, in a 119-page ruling issued late Friday, said that the state Legislature tailored...the [in-person absentee voting] law to curtail voting in Milwaukee, specifically “to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African-Americans...”
The Legislature reduced the time that municipalities could offer in-person absentee voting, from a period of as long as 30 days ending on the day before election day to a period of 12 days that ended on the Friday before election day. It also limited absentee voting to one location per municipality.
“The Legislature’s objective was political,” Peterson wrote. “Republicans sought to maintain control of state government. But the methods that the Legislature chose to achieve that involved suppressing the votes of Milwaukee’s residents, who are disproportionately African-American and Latino.”
A federal appeals court decisively struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law on Friday, saying its provisions deliberately “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” in an effort to depress black turnout at the polls.
And you think Jim Crow is dead?
Or that Barack Obama's election meant we were now living a post-racial social success?
The goal of legislatures and governors in North Carolina and Wisconsin, and in GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Mike Pence's Indiana, or in other states like Texas that rushed into the vacuum created when the John Roberts US Supreme Court rolled back the Voting Rights Act, was to tilt the scales and make sure that America would never again elect an African-American President, and to further ensure than any GOP presidential candidate would go into the election with a cheater's advantage embedded by illegal laws.
And what was the reaction of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to the judge's identification of an official web of racist, unconstitutional governance - - in the state which gave birth to the party of Abraham Lincoln?
"Voting should be easy, but cheating should be hard.”
How hollow, from our hollow Governor. One more thing:
Remember that we, the voters and taxpayers send these elected officials to Madison, give them the keys to our historic State Capitol and Governor's mansion, pay them handsomely, shower them with benefits from pensions and health plans to conveniences and pure freebies - - primo parking, overnight lodging, meals, cell phones and even weekend mileage to bop around their districts on weekends when constituent interaction is indistinguishable from electioneering - - and how did these self-serving GOP partisans use our resources and generosity and their access to power? They turned it against the people for racial dominance, party permanence and room-service favoritism for their special-interest donor friends. In 2016. Beyond shameful. Throw the bums out.
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.
The right, suburbanites say "No light rail for Milwaukee."
James Rowen's Bio
James Rowen, a writer and consultant, has worked for newspapers, and as the senior Mayoral staffer, in Madison and Milwaukee, WI. This blog began on 2/2/ 2007. Posts run also at various news sites, including The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Purple Wisconsin."