Jon Stewart Defends the Voting Rights Act and Slams Antonin Scalia


Jon Stewart used the behavior of Republicans in 2012 to explain why the Voting Rights Act should be expanded, and slammed Justice Scalia for his judicial activism.

Here is the video:

Jon Stewart used the behavior of Republicans during the 2012 election as a justification for why the Voting Rights Act should be expanding, “This isn’t really about personal prejudice. It’s about systemic discrimination, and if the last election is anything to go by, the Voting Rights Act should be expanding, not contracting. (Clips of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio’s attempts to disenfranchise voters with voter ID laws, and other measures.) Stewart said, “What more does Ohio have to do to get on the list of states? Replace voting machines with shredders? It’s just. But so far the Supreme Court debate has been conducted in a very intelligent and respectful manner. I wonder if we can get one of them to change that?”

Stewart played Scalia’s quote, “It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes… It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress…and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?” Stewart said, “Bravo, the court’s originalist. The Supreme Court must act to strike down this law, because Congress is too afraid to challenge it based on the appeal of its name. I am assuming he would strike down the signers of the Declaration of Independence under this same logic. I could believe if John Hancock signed the I Wish Our Tea Was Cheaper Declaration. I gotta tell you, this guy’s a piece of work. I mean can you imagine what it would be like to work with that guy?”

After the massive voter disenfranchisement scheme that the nation witnessed Republicans try to enact in 2012, it is ridiculous that the Voting Rights Act is being challenged. As Stewart pointed out earlier in the clip, two states that fall under the Voting Rights Act (Texas and South Carolina) tried to disenfranchise voters LAST YEAR. Their own behavior invalidates the argument that racism has vanished, and that the law is no longer needed.

Justice Scalia’s notion that voting rights are a racial entitlement got most of the attention, but his concept of judicial power and activism should send shudders up the spines of anyone who believes in constitutional checks and balances. Scalia has taken the idea of the Supreme Court acting as a constitutional check, and turned it into a blank check to legislate from the bench. In his view, all rights are subject to the whim and ideology of the highest court in the land.

Republicans couldn’t rig the electoral process in their favor through state legislative and executive action, so they are banking on their Koch fueled ideologically driven Supreme Court justices to get the job done for them.

The idea that anyone thought Antonin Scalia was one of the top nine legal talents in this country, and deserving of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is mind blowing. This nation will change for the better if President Obama gets the chance to replace a justice, and send Scalia’s warped right wing view of judicial activism back to the minority.

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