On today's BradCast, more rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., more Scalia race-baiting, another rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard by SCOTUS, and some potentially good news for the climate out of Paris. [Link to the full program follows below.]
First up today, another 'active shooter' situation plays out as we go to air. And, once again, the terrorist in question appears to be a rightwinger --- at least based on the 'Tea Party' flag on his pickup truck.
Next, we're joined by The Nation's Ari Berman, author of the recently published Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, to discuss Evenwell v. Abbott, the somewhat astonishing rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (for some reason).
Despite the "One person, one vote" principal having been seen by most as settled law for about 50 years in the U.S., the Court took up a challenge to that idea brought by the same man who successfully challenged the Voting Rights Act --- which SCOTUS subsequently gutted --- back in 2013. Now comes the idea out of Texas that each state's legislative districts should not be drawn with an approximately equal population in each, as they are now, but rather an equal portion of eligible voters in each Congressional and state house district.
Redrawing maps in this way --- and it would likely need to be done in all 50 states --- would lead not only to chaos, but it have the effect of seriously undercutting minority voting rights, as Berman explains on today's program.
If the plaintiffs in Evenwell are successful, he observes, "many people who are now counted would be excluded, because they are not eligible voters, such as those who are under 18, those who are not U.S. citizens, both documented and undocumented [and] prisoners who have lost the right the vote. All of those people will not be counted [when drawing up legislative maps]. So if you look at the math itself...that will mean that 55% of Latinos, 45% of Asian-Americans, and 30% of African-Americans will not be counted towards representation. And that's why this case is such an attack on minority voting representation."
Few, including Berman, saw such a challenge coming, though perhaps we should have. The case, he tells me, is "brought by the same people that challenged the Voting Rights Act, the same people that challenged affirmative action, and seemingly everything they bring --- particularly this one guy, Ed Blum and his Project on Fair Representation --- everything he brings seems to be heard by this Supreme Court. It's literally like he's sitting around thinking 'What's the next way I can try to attack voting rights? What's the next way I can attack racial equality?' And they keep thinking of more and more creative schemes. And it like they're just going through everything that was done in the 1960s and challenging it --- whether it's the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act or it's 'One person, one vote'. All of these landmark achievements that have been so successful are now under attack, and this is just the next iteration of this."
After spending months researching for his book, Give Us The Ballot, Berman observes the fight against voting rights today is a continuation of the same fight that has been waged since the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act half a century ago. "There has been a 50 year attempt to try to restrict voting rights. And one of the things that I've noticed is that there's always new ways thought up to try to roll voting rights back. And we've seen a dramatic escalation, I think, of a very old strategy...And they don't seem likely to stop anytime soon."
Berman details how the questions from the Justices at Wednesday's oral arguments to suggest that we are likely looking at another 5 to 4 split decision from the Court...one way or another.
Also today: Justice Antonin Scalia, the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court, offers remarkably offensive comments about African-Americans; Rush Limbaugh's guest host testifies on climate change (sort of) in Ted Cruz' U.S. Senate Science Committee hearing; And the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21) comes down to the wire and may be set to produce an even better global agreement than almost anyone had predicted...
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