Think Progress: Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’

-By Nicole Flatow and Ian Millhiser

February 27, 2013- There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”

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Maddow Blog: Conservative justices wary of Voting Rights Act

-By Steve Benen

February 27, 2013- In recent decades, support for the Voting Rights Act became nearly universal — that is, until very recently. As much of the right has become increasingly radicalized, the VRA has become a popular target, and Attorney General Eric Holder recently noted that there have been more conservative legal challenges to the Section 5 of the VRA over the past two years than during the previous four decades.

The timing of these challenges is not coincidental — GOP policymakers nationwide launched an ambitious "war on voting," deliberately creating longer voting lines, closing early-voting windows, addressing imaginary voter fraud through punitive voter-ID laws, restricting voter-registration drives, and overseeing an anti-voting campaign unlike anything seen in the United States since the days of Jim Crow. In many parts of the country, the Voting Rights Act has stood in the way of the larger conservative agenda.

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MSNBC: Push to overturn Voting Rights Act tied to GOP voter suppression efforts

-By Zachary Roth

February 25, 2013- The Washington D.C. lawyer representing the Alabama county that wants to strike down the heart of the most effective civil-rights law in history specialize in cases aimed at making voting harder for minorities.

William Consovoy also last year argued on behalf of Republican officials in Florida and Ohio, who in both cases were seeking to significantly reduce the days allotted for early voting, which blacks take advantage of more than whites. Consovoy, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, is a partner at Wiley Rein, a Washington, D.C., law firm that bills itself as the best in the country for election law. Bert Rein, one of the firm’s principals, also is listed on court documents as representing the plaintiffs.

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Think Progress: Judges Refuse To Reappoint Top GOP Voter Suppressor To Election Board

-By Ian Millhiser

February 25, 2013- Hans von Spakovsky may be America’s top expert on voter disenfranchisement. How to foster voter disenfranchisement, that is. As an official in the Bush Justice Department, Spakovsky pushed through gerrymandered maps benefiting Republicans, and was a driving force behind the effort to approve voter ID laws — a common voter suppression law targeting student, minority and low-income voters. Since leaving the Bush Administration, Spakovsky’s remained a leading advocate of voter suppression, often making odd claims such as arguing that a common method of disenfranchising voters actually does those voters a favor, or claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder sides with big scary black men who tamper with elections.

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The Detroit News: Mich. GOP pushes on with electoral vote plan; Schostak re-elected

-By Gary Heinlein

February 24, 2013- Lansing — Republicans handed Bobby Schostak another two-year term as state chairman Saturday and overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to change Michigan presidential electoral vote rules in a way opponents charge is intended to distort election results in favor of GOP candidates.

By a 1,370-132 margin at the party convention in Lansing, GOP members approved a resolution backing a proposal from Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, to divvy-up 14 of the state's 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the state-wide vote total winner.

That switch from a winner-take-all formula that has been in effect 175 years could water down the dominance Democrats have had in Michigan in presidential elections for the last 24 years.

Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan's 16 electoral votes last year, although he lost by more than 500,00 votes to President Barack Obama state-wide. With the win, Obama captured all 16 Michigan electoral votes.

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RAW Story: Montana legislator introduces bill to give corporations right to vote

-By David Ferguson

February 23, 2013- A Montana Republican state legislator has introduced a bill that would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections. According to Think Progress, Rep. Steve Lavin (R-Kalispell) has introduced Montana House Bill No. 486, which would grant to “a firm, partnership, company or corporation” that owns property within a district the right to vote as a citizen of that district.

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Think Progress: Montana Bill Would Give Corporations The Right To Vote

-By Ian Millhiser

February 22, 2013- A bill introduced by Montana state Rep. Steve Lavin would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections:

Provision for vote by corporate property owner. (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election as provided in [section 1].

(2) The individual who is designated to vote by the entity is subject to the provisions of [section 1] and shall also provide to the election administrator documentation of the entity’s registration with the secretary of state under 35-1-217 and proof of the individual’s designation to vote on behalf of the entity.

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