SCOTUS Guts the Voting Rights Act

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

English: The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whoever said that news slows down in the summer did not anticipate a week like this one.

Let’s begin with the Supreme Court, which issued a decision this morning that gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act. Those of you who remember your history lessons already know that this isn’t the first Court that has chipped away at rights established by Congress. We linked to a heartbreaking NPR report today on how Jim Crow laws came to be — and the parallel with today’s decision is chilling.

Two hours after the ruling, Texas moved to enact new Voter ID laws, and Mississippi and South Carolina are expected to follow.

Other SCOTUS reporters could not help but comment on the behavior of Justice Samuel Alito, who did not comport himself with judicial dignity on Monday while Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissenting opinion on sexual harassment in the workplace. Slate’s Emily Bazelton points out that Ginsburg is a woman who can take care of herself… but we are appalled, all the same.

In other news: President Obama gave a major speech today on climate change, which Al Gore calls “the best by any President ever“:

Obama said the White House would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draft new rules to limit the carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants that should be in effect by 2015. The president also said the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should only be approved if it didn’t increase greenhouse gas pollution.

And all pro-choice eyes right now are on Texas, where as of this writing, state Senator Wendy Davis is engaging in a heroic filibuster to keep yet another restrictive abortion bill from becoming law. Amanda Marcotte published some background this morning at the Daily Beast:

by deliberately exploiting the absence of…colleague Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who couldn’t be present to cast the crucial vote that would help block the bill from getting to the state Senate. Why wasn’t she there? Well, because her father was killed in a car accident—for most people, a tragedy, but for anti-choice Texas legislators, it’s apparently an opportunity.

This is such a full news week that we can’t contain it in just one MOMochat podcast… we will be airing a special SCOTUS edition on Friday with RH Reality Check legal analyst Jessica Mason Pieklo, in addition to our regularly scheduled program on Wednesday morning at 9:00. Join us!

 

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