Well, One Sees Why The Right Doesn’t Want Tim Robbins To Vote

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Right-wing bloggers are looking at Sonia Sotomayor’s record.

Cahnman at The Next Right:

This is devestating.  In 2006, Sotomayor dissented on this case, arguing that because Latinos and Blacks make up a disproportionate portion of the prison population (because they commit a disproportionate amount of the crime) they are covered under the Voting Rights Act.  This argument is patentedly absurd on it’s face, not to mention it’s sheer nuttieness.

Anyone who thinks felons are covered under the Voting Rights Act has NO BUSINESS on the Supreme Court.  The last thing we need are politicians pandering to felons.

Hans Von Spakovsky at Heritage’s Foundry Blog

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically recognizes the rights of states to abridge the right to vote “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” As the Second Circuit recognized in 2006 in Hayden v. Pataki, 449 F.3d 305 (2d Cir. 2006), when it upheld New York’s law prohibiting incarcerated felons from voting, there were specific statements in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee Reports and on the Senate floor explicitly excluding felon disenfranchisement laws from provisions of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, this was so clearly the case that there were several unsuccessful attempts in the 1970’s by some in Congress to amend the VRA to have it apply to such state laws.

Yet in a dissenting opinion in Hayden, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, disagreed. She thought that the majority’s extensive look into the history of the Voting Rights Act, the legislative comments, and the felon disenfranchisement rights of states as outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment were a waste of time. Since the Voting Rights Act “applies to all voting qualifications” and the New York statute “disqualifies a group of people from voting,” that should “constitute the entirety of [the court’s] analysis.” Sotomayor then makes the duplicitous claim that she is just upholding the statute, saying that “even if Congress had doubts about the wisdom of subjecting felon disenfranchisement laws to the results test of §2 [of the Voting Rights Act], I trust that Congress would prefer to make any needed changes itself, rather than have courts do so for it.” Far from this modest result, she was actually proposing that the courts alter the statute by applying it to state laws to which Congress never intended the law to apply, and for good reason.

Washington Times Editorial

On the broader issue, Patrick Appel in the Atlantic,

According to a 2004 study, former prisoners who vote are half as likely to reoffend. If suffrage constitutes even a small nudge toward the straight and narrow, why shouldn’t we grant prisoners the right to vote? As things now stand, criminal-voting laws vary widely by state: in some, a first-time drug offender will be denied the right to vote for life; in others, murderers can vote while behind bars. But overall, America’s position on voting rights, particularly with regard to former criminals, is the most punitive of any developed nation.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

I actually understand private enterprise looking into criminal records, before they hire–the primary motive their is profit. It’s not a logic I like. But it’s a kind of logic. But for the public, disenfranchisimg felons really makes little sense. Either we want these people to be functioning parts of society, or we don’t. Setting them free, and then barring them from the basic responsibilities of citizen life seems at odds.

Matt Y:

Unfortunately, the crime control discussion in the United States tends to be heavily focused on people’s emotional sense of outrage, on nobody wanting to be seen as an advocate for criminals, and on a certain amount of denial that this is even an important issue. But it is an important issue—high crime rates are really damaging—and we have a strong interest in using punishments that work, and eschewing punishments that don’t.

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Filed under Crime, Political Figures, Supreme Court

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