Wednesday, September 6, 2023

As Steve Marshall and Edmund LaCour openly defy the U.S. Supreme Court on Congressional voting map, they hearken back to the days of "old school" racism

Steve Marshall (left) and Edmund LaCour

Old-fashioned racism never seems to go out of style in Alabama; it just changes its stripes from time to time. The stripe changers this time are the state's attorney general, Steve Marshall, and solicitor general, Edmund LaCour. Longtime Alabama attorney and civil-rights advocate Donald Watkins calls out Marshall and LaCour as the modern-day placeholders for the state's unvarnished and unrepentant racists of yesteryear. The issue this time is voting rights, and Watkins, understandably, takes special umbrage at the efforts of Marshall and LaCour to stand between Black Alabamians and the voting booth.

Under the headline "Steve Marshall and Edmund LaCour: The Vanguards of "Old School" Racism in Alabama," Watkins writes:

In Dillard v. Crenshaw, 640 F. Supp. 1347 (1986), a federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, described the long, ugly, and documented history of Alabama’s harsh and oppressive discrimination against its Black citizens in every aspect of public life.

According to the court, Alabama had an “unrelenting historical agenda, spanning from the late 1800s to the 1980s, to keep its Black citizens economically, socially, and politically downtrodden, from the cradle to the grave.” (p. 1357).

No area has been more problematic for Blacks in the state than achieving voting rights and access to the political process, which the court in Dillard v. Crenshaw described in excruciating detail. (pp. 1356 to 1360).

Yesterday [Tuesday, 9/5/23], a three-judge federal court in Birmingham issued an Order striking down Alabama's latest map of congressional election districts because the state failed to obey a prior court order directing the state to draw a second Black Congressional district, as required by the anti-vote dilution provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Marshall and LaCour might not look like the grizzled old racists of days gone by, but their actions are just as oppressive, maybe worse, than those of their predecessors. Watkins writes:

On June 8, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the three-judge court’s prior order to mandate a new Congressional redistricting plan.

Led by Attorney General Steve Marshall and Alabama Solicitor General Edmund LaCour, Alabama openly defied the prior Voting Rights Act orders issued by both the three-judge court and U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, the three-judge panel said they are "deeply troubled that the State enacted a map that the State readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires."

Once again, the state of Alabama is proudly engaging in “massive resistance” to the protection of voting rights for its Black citizens.

Once again, the state is championing the openly hostile, anti-black agenda described in Dillard v. Crenshaw.

Once again, Alabama's white constitutional officers, state legislators, local elected officials, political advocacy groups, and corporate leaders have fallen silent on the subject of protecting voting rights for Blacks in the state.

Republicans long have claimed theirs is the party of "law and order." But here we have Marshall and LaCour, in one of the nation's most Republican states, openly defying the orders of a three-judge federal panel, plus the U.S. Supreme Court. Is that what "law and order" now means to postmodern conservatives? They only abide by court orders when it suits them?

Alabama had a chance to take a step forward on the issue of human rights for all of its citizens. Instead, Marshall and LaCour helped ensure the state will continue to look backward -- and they did it in cowardly fashion. Writes Watkins:

In the end, the state of Alabama will lose this court battle, and the state's taxpayers will be forced to pay millions of dollars in legal fees to the lawyers for the plaintiffs and the court-appointed lawyers and experts who are now charged with redrawing a Congressional redistricting plan that complies with the mandates of the Voting Rights Acts.


legalschnauzer said...

Donald Watkins adds important history to this issue, with a comment at his Facebook page. Alabama's efforts to stymie Black voters goes back a long ways. Citizens and "leaders" should be embarrassed that this still is going on.

Donald V. Watkins
In Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 (1960), the U.S. Supreme Court outlined racial gerrymandering. This case arose from an Act of the Alabama Legislature that created an electoral district in Tuskegee with boundaries lines that disenfranchised African Americans, in violation of their rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The state's attacks on voting rights for its black citizens has been unrelenting in the 63 years since Gomillion v. Lightfoot was decided by the Supreme Court.


Brian Keith O'Hara said...

Never stop fighting, never offer quarter, we are in fight for our freedom against EVIL.