Rep. Westmoreland Calls For Judicial Activism to Overturn Voting Rights Act

The extension of the Voting Rights Act was passed by the U.S. House today by a vote of 390-33.  Of the 33 who voted “no,” all Republicans, six were from the Georgia delegation.  Not able to accept defeat in the face of the overwelming bi-partisan popular will of the people’s representatives, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland called for judcial activism to overturn the law.  He had this to say:  “We needed 218 votes in the House,” he said. “But we’ll only need five votes in the Supreme Court. Justice will prevail. The honor of Georgia will be restored.” So, when a conservative asks the Courts to overturn the will of the people it is “justice,” but when a liberal asks the Courts to do the same thing it is “judicial activism.” Is that right, Rep. Westmoreland? Thanks to Andre for pointing this out. 

35 comments

  1. Tater Tate says:

    Hell yes I want some conservative judicial activism. It would take decades to overturn the socialist bent of our courts for decades.

    Congressman Westmoreland is a national treasure and Georgia heroe for taking on this issue. I for one, will not give another dime or lift a finger for the Republican congress because of this vote.

    But I will support Westmoreland.

    Westmoreland for Governor in ’10!

  2. debbie0040 says:

    I really like Westmoreland but totally disagree with him on this issue. He is doing the same thing we accuse the libs of. I think he will think about it and change his mind.

  3. eem2006 says:

    tater – would you pick Westmoreland or Reed in 2010?

    Just sayin, if Reed wins on tuesday you know that is his plan.

  4. Tater Tate says:

    Tough call eem2006. Either would be fine by me. I spect they’ll work it out between them as they are good friends. Westmoreland has endoresed Reed you know.

  5. Three Jack says:

    Why did Kingston vote in favor of this extension? Thanks to all other GA Rs for voting No.

  6. Bull Moose says:

    Okay, you people are borderline racist on this issue… VRA opened the doors for African Americans to the polling places. Stop being biggots.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    Because Kingston understands that the rights of African Americans and other minorities are more important than making a political statement. If you have a problem with the VRA, settle it in court, where it should have been settled decades ago.

  8. atlantaman says:

    I don’t believe Conservatives think the Supreme Court should be eliminated. Conservatives do believe in upholding the Constitution. It’s not activism if it’s clearly unconstitutional. Conservatives don’t like it when activist Judges see things and interpret meanings in the Constitution that don’t exist.

    How could you pick only a few States and make them operate under different rules then the rest of the states, how is that equal protection. The only way the provision passed Constitutional muster to begin with was by making it temporary. If you continue to renew the provision after 50 years at what point is it not temporary.

    It’s ridiculous that the people of this state are still paying for the sins of 50 years ago. The majority of the people living here were either not an adult then or moved here with their job when metro Atlanta began to prosper.

    Under their logic, we should be boycotting Nelson Mandela and South Africa because of their years of Apartheid.

    It’s an incredible slap in the face of Georgians for being treated differently then the rest of this Country and a real dissapointment that we have so many spineless Congressmen, Senators, and a President who are afraid of being called a racist by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and company.

  9. duluthmom says:

    Bill S.

    Didn’t you know that Westmoreland doesn’t have time to learn the 10 Commandments because he’s too busy re-reading his campaign literature to make sure he’s doing what he promised to do? (That goes down as one of the stupidist things I’ve heard a politician say.)

    And don’t you dare call him a Peach ever.

    For those that missed it (be sure to catch the 10 Commandment part):

    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/06/15.html#a8728

  10. debbie0040 says:

    I was against the VR extension. I don’t think it is right to say only certain states have to abide by it and not all states. If one state has to abide by it then all should.

    I just feel that our duly elected representatives have voted and that is it. Now they have to answer to the voters in their districts.

  11. atlantaman says:

    Debbie-

    I respect what you are saying, but I don’t think our elected Reps. (no matter how spineless they are) have the Constitutional power to renew that law. How can anyone make the case that the citizens of GA are receiving equal protection?

    Unfortunately most of the Reps won’t have “to answer to the voters in their districts”, becuase their Districts are treated better then Georgia’s. That’s the point, why would the voter’s in other states hold their reps accountable for outdated rules that don’t effect them.

    If our Washington legislators are so concerned about appeasing Jesse Jackson then they should put a Constitutional Amendment in motion.

    Westmoreland is a hero who stood up to a Republican leadership that did not want a debate over this bill. If racism still exists, then it exists everywhere and all the States should have to abide by the same rules.

  12. Decaturguy says:

    “It’s ridiculous that the people of this state are still paying for the sins of 50 years ago.”

    50 years ago? They’re pulling the same stunts with their voter ID bills today. Remember Sue Burmeister?

    Come on, get real. Westmoreland would have been in the mainstream in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but today, he and the others are an embarassment to our state. They are so far right that they could only get less than 10% of their collegues to join them.

  13. Harry says:

    It’s pretty much meaningless anyway. Black districts are set up to elect Democrats and white districts to elect Republicans. Suits me.

  14. Loren says:

    50 years ago? They’re pulling the same stunts with their voter ID bills today. Remember Sue Burmeister?

    You mean the Voter ID bill that was precleared by DoJ on August 26, 2005, and then again on June 28, 2006? The bill that even the federal judge who issued the injunction earlier this week doesn’t see a VRA violation in?

    And actually, it’s 34-42 years ago, since Section 5 of the VRA focuses exclusively on the elections of 1964, 1968, and 1972. Whether or not Georgia actually deserves its treatment today, that doesn’t change the fact that the Section 5 only cares about discrimination during the Vietnam era and before, and completely and utterly ignores any patterns of discrimination in other states that have emerged in the last three decades.

    Renewal of Section 5 without any changes means that the DoJ will continue to pay attention only to states that discriminated in the ’60s, while turning a blind eye to other states with new, present-day discrimination.

  15. atlantaman says:

    Nobody has been able to logically tell me why if the State of GA, Arizona and a few other states needs Federal oversight, then why not all 50 States?

  16. Harry says:

    We’re the goats.

    But like I said – it just guarantees me a more conservative representative, so fine by me.

  17. Bull Moose says:

    Listen you racists, the reason only “certain” states have to abide by the VRA is because those are the states that demonstrated a determination to make sure that African American minorities were disenfranchised.

    Man, some of you really need a good history lesson. Especially you Mr. Westmoreland (oh and Bible too)!

  18. Loren says:

    Nobody has been able to logically tell me why if the State of GA, Arizona and a few other states needs Federal oversight, then why not all 50 States?

    I believe it was David Scott who argued that nationwide application would be unconstitutional, because then it wouldn’t be “narrowly tailored.”

    From a more practical standpoint, there are roughly 100 Representatives from areas covered by Section 5, as opposed to 330 or so from states that aren’t. It’s not surprising that they don’t want to open the door to getting themselves called to task.

  19. atlantaman says:

    “I believe it was David Scott who argued that nationwide application would be unconstitutional, because then it wouldn’t be “narrowly tailored.

  20. atlantaman says:

    “And what are the two states most often identified as places where minority disenfranchisement has taken place recently? Florida and Ohio.”

    I think the reason those states are in the spotlight is due to their being swing states with a great deal of electoral votes. When a Republican wins those states it has to be due to minority disenfranchisement. I’m sure there are minorities in every state (except maybe Vermont) who would compain they somehow got a bad deal at the polls.

  21. Loren says:

    I’m sure there are minorities in every state (except maybe Vermont) who would compain they somehow got a bad deal at the polls.

    Perhaps, but I am constantly surprised at how many politicians and pundits have argued that we should renew Section 5 as-is, by citing discrimination in states not covered by Section 5.

    If you’re going to point to Florida and Ohio as the best modern examples of discrimination, one would think you’d want a law that could adapt to pay closer attention to Florida and Ohio, instead of continuing to ignore them.

  22. Bull Moose says:

    Had I been in Congress I would have made and faught for an amendment applying Section 5 to all US States and Territories with electoral districts. If it were successful, I would support continuing the VRA. If it weren’t successful, I would STILL support continuing the VRA. I think to vote against continuing the VRA is just another example of why the VRA is still applicable.

    Shame on those that voted against it.

  23. bowersville says:

    Is this not a pandering? Is this not a subtle play of the race card by the GOP? Is this any different than McKinney(sp?) Does the GOP not want any black voters? Does the whole Democratatic party, and the GOP party have to become a black/white race issue? How ignorant does Westmoreland think I am as a life long white resident of Georgia?

  24. Bull Moose says:

    These Georgia Republicans helped make up the 33 votes against continuing the Voting Rights Act: Nathan Deal, Phil Gingrey, John Linder, Charles Norwood, Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland

    I think they need to be held accountable for such an overt racist vote against equality, or at least they all need to be given a history lesson.

    I’m very very dissapointed in our Georgia Republican delegation.

    Thank you Jack Kingston for voting in favor of the Voting Rights Act.

  25. Harry says:

    Get off your high horse and get real. When it comes to race discrimination or reverse-discrimination we’re no better or worse any other state. Fact is, we’re the ones being discriminated against.

    But as they say….if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade!

  26. benevolus says:

    Different kinds of problems require different kinds of solutions.

    I suppose if someone could show widespread, institutional discrimination in Florida or Ohio or anywhere else, there would be some interest in federal oversight of elections there.

    As much as I dislike the attempt at a photo ID law here, I guess I can be thankful because it probably helped focus legislators on what the problem is.

  27. jacewalden says:

    Racism. Of course. The first, last, and only line of defense for anyone who doesn’t agree with someone. “Oh, he’s such a racist.” It is kind of pathetic.

    50 years ago? They’re pulling the same stunts with their voter ID bills today. Remember Sue Burmeister?

    Decaturguy, I’ve pretty much conceded the point that you and I will never agree on ANYTHING. Why are democrats so determined to insure that no one has to be able to show who they are before they cast a ballot? Hell, the I.D. is FREE! What are you whining about? For people who think this “disenfranchises” anyone. I kind of agree. It disenfranchises anyone who is too lazy to get off of their dead ass 1 out of 365 days in a year to go get a FREE I.D.

    Is this not a pandering? Is this not a subtle play of the race card by the GOP?

    No. It is not. It’s a subtle play to keep GA from being punished for mistakes it made 50 years ago. 50 Years ago, Georgia SHOULD have been punished. We have overcome our past though. The punishment is for a crime we are not committing. The “subtle” play at the race card was made by the people who voted against the Westmoreland and Norwood amendments.

    Like I said. Anyone who automatically cries “racism” is not better than Cynthia McKinney, and probably deserves to be represented by her.

    “But Jace, what about old people in nursing homes?” What about them? They can get a ride to the courthouse 1 day of 365 to get the damn I.D.

    I think they need to be held accountable for such an overt racist vote against equality, or at least they all need to be given a history lesson.

    Bullmoose, that is the dumbest thing you have ever said.

    I’m sick and tired

  28. jacewalden says:

    Wow, it put that way out of order….

    Move the cynthia McKinney part under the “I’m sick and tired” part.

    The I’m sick and tired part should have read: “I’m sick and tired of people automatically crying “racism” just for the hell of it.

    [insert Cynthia McKinney portion here]

    Oh, and the part about old people in nursing homes should go right after the words “FREE I.D.”

  29. Loren says:

    These Georgia Republicans helped make up the 33 votes against continuing the Voting Rights Act:

    And yet they all voted in favor of a 10-year extension, instead of another 25 year one.

    I think they need to be held accountable for such an overt racist vote against equality, or at least they all need to be given a history lesson.

    As someone who clearly supports the bill as passed, perhaps you can clear something up for me. How is Section 5 of the VRA a better law by looking exclusively to the elections of 1964, 1968, and 1972? How would the law be hurt by at least expanding the number of elections that determine whether a jurisdiction is subject to preclearance?

    As originally passed, the law only looked to the 1964 election, and it covered mostly Southern states. When it was amended and renewed in 1970, the Congress didn’t leave it at just the ’64 election; they added the 1968 one to the equation. Suddenly, parts of states like New York and New Hampshire were subject to preclearance.

    When the law came up for renewal again in 1975, they amended it to include the 1972 election. This then subjected counties in California and Florida and Michigan, among others, to preclearance.

    But when Section 5 was renewed in 1982, they didn’t add any new elections, even though they renewed it for a period of time that was longer than the law had yet been in existence.

    It was a good idea in 1970 and 1975 to update the Voting Rights Act when it was renewed. It kept the law current, as it adapted to identify and respond to more contemporary patterns of discrimination. So why would it be a bad idea to make a similar update today? Why should the law be based on discrimination in 1972, but not in 1984, or 1992, or 2004? How is the law better off for continuing to focus on Vietnam-era elections, while ignoring every election in my lifetime?

  30. atlantaman says:

    I’ve been thinking about the whole, “Westmoreland and the Conservatives are hypocrites for wanting to use the Supreme Court” issue.

    I think there is a difference as to when a judicial activist judge sees things in the Constitution that do not exist and when lawmakers ignore aspects of the Constitution that do exist.

  31. Decaturguy says:

    Jace,

    How about addressing the Sue Burmeister issue? With leaders like her, how can you say that Georgia is just like every other state?

  32. Harry says:

    I thought she opened her mouth and said one stupid thing, and so she’s history? Maybe I missed something. What else is there?

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