Friday, September 16, 2005

The dark side of John Roberts

William Taylor, Georgetown professor of law, wrote the most interesting piece I've read so far about John Roberts, the nominee. Please read here

An excerpt:

"But it was in the second major civil rights battle of the early Reagan administration that Roberts, winner of an undergraduate history award at Harvard College, revealed a surprising ignorance of America's racial past. The issue in 1981 was whether Congress should renew key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and overturn a 1980 Supreme Court decision that threatened to undermine the gains that African-Americans were making in securing their right to vote.

The history of discrimination was unambiguous. Despite the guarantees of the Fifteenth Amendment, from the end of Reconstruction in the late nineteenth century through the early 1960s the states of the Old Confederacy kept black people from registering to vote by a variety of strategies. As the Supreme Court struck down one device after another for disenfranchis-ing blacks as violating the Fifteenth Amendment, states replaced them with others, finally resorting to primaries limited to white people. These practices were reinforced by racial violence. Many local black leaders who were organizing people to vote were murdered by members of the Klan."

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