South Carolina’s new voter ID act has been in the news lately, with various civil rights groups and the Department of Justice damning it as discriminatory and racist. In fact, DoJ Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote a letter to Assistant Deputy Attorney General C. Havird Jones, Jr., Esq. concerning South Carolina’s new voter ID law, Act R54, in which he states (on letterhead which means he’s wearing his Official DoJ Civil Rights Division Enforcer of the Law beanie), “In other words, according to the state’s data … minority registered voters were nearly 20% more likely to lack DMV-issued ID than white registered voters, and thus to be effectively disenfranchised by Act R54’s new requirements.” So it is the official position of the United States Department of Justice that requiring a government issued photo ID to vote is racially discriminatory. What does this have to do with gun rights you ask? Patience grasshopper, all shall be revealed. . .
Now, we already know how the DoJ feels on the subject of literacy tests and poll taxes, these measures were merely poorly camouflaged tools used to disenfranchise minorities and (in some locales) the poor, although it wasn’t until 1966 with their ruling in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that the Supreme Court finally put a stake through the heart of the poll tax, stating:
We have long been mindful that where fundamental rights and liberties are asserted under the Equal Protection Clause, classifications which might invade or restrain them must be closely scrutinized and carefully confined. See, e. g., Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 ; Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 561 -562; Carrington v. Rash, supra; Baxstrom v. Herold, ante, p. 107; Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 580 -581 (BLACK, J., concurring).
Those principles apply here. For to repeat, wealth or fee paying has, in our view, no relation to voting qualifications; the right to vote is too precious, too fundamental to be so burdened or conditioned. [emphasis added]
It is good to see that our precious civil rights are so strongly protected from sneaky measures designed to ensure that only a select few can exercise them. In fact, in January of 2010 the 9th Circuit Court ruled in Farrakhan v. Gregoire that Washington state’s felon disenfranchisement law was illegal because it had a disparate impact on minorities:
We are bound by Farrakhan I’s holding that § 2 of the VRA [Voting Rights Act of 1965] applies to Washington’s felon disenfranchisement law. Plaintiffs have demonstrated that the discriminatory impact of Washington’s felon disenfranchisement is attributable to racial discrimination in Washington’s criminal justice system; thus, that Washington’s felon disenfranchisement law violates § 2 of the VRA.
This ruling was overturned by an en banc panel of the court and although there were promises to appeal to the Supreme Court, I can find no further mention of the case. However, the mere fact that two Circuit Court judges were willing to look at the facts and apply this sort of scrutiny to a disenfranchisement case leads me to ask one question:
When-in-the-hell are you people going to start treating the Second Amendment like it’s actually a part of the Bill of Rights?
- It is discriminatory to require a photo ID to vote but not to purchase a firearm.
- It is discriminatory to require training and testing to vote but not get a permit to carry.
- It is discriminatory to require payment of fees and taxes to vote but not to purchase a firearm or get a permit to carry.
How much longer is the Second Amendment going to be treated like the bastard step-child at the family picnic?