Monday, March 4, 2013

Entitlement: What's In A Word and Antonin Scalia

During the recent oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia said this law is the institutionalization of a "racial entitlement."  the 1965 law, last renewed about 4 years ago by a unanimous Senate and by all but six votes in the House, says that a local government cannot suddenly change the voting hours, or the voting place or the boundaries of a voting district, without first getting approval from a federal authority if that local government has been identified as one which has a history of  denying voting rights to its citizens. Historically, this was done mostly in the South, although New Hampshire has had its problems. 

So this law prevents shenanigans carried out by locals who don't want their Black folks voting, and that Mr. Scalia sees as "a racial entitlement." Which is to say, those local Black folk are entitled to vote.

And "entitlement" suggests the mentality of a person who feels "entitled." Which is to say, this suggests a person who is not deserving but demands something to which he is not really, ethically or morally entitled, but he thinks he ought to be.

The same word has been used, with the same pejorative connotation in the case of Medicare. All those citizens who feel so "entitled" to their Medicare. They don't really deserve Medicare coverage, they just feel "entitled," those welfare queen slackers.

Of course, that word is never used when a customer of Blue Cross/Blue Shield demands that insurance company cover his hospitalization or this MRI. That person deserves to be covered. He paid his premiums.  But the citizen who has paid with every pay check for thirty years into the Medicare program, well, he is an entitled , so and so, who is just willing to bleed the government dry demanding his coverage when he really ought to be ashamed to be feeding at the government trough. 

Oh, for shame.

And the same goes for all those citizens who no longer need the federal government protecting their voting rights. After all, people are no longer put through "literacy" tests at the polls, or asked to pay a "poll tax" or sent away because they are Black. Everything is clean as a whistle at the polling places throughout the land now, in the 21st century--unless you happen to be trying to vote in Florida, and you are a 102 year old black woman, on line for 6 hours, or unless you are trying to vote in Pennsylvania where--luckily--they caught the Republican local pol on tape, crowing about how he was going to steal the election from President Obama with his local malfeasance. 

Who needs a Voting Rights Act when elections nowadays are so very clean?

And Mr. Scalia complains the very name of the law is a sham; calling it a Voting Rights Act means nobody can oppose it, says Justice Scalia. Who would be against  voting rights? (Takes one to know one: Who would be for a Death Tax?)

Mr. Scalia, ever irrepressible, did not stop with questioning the lawyer presenting the  argument against the Voting Rights Act--Mr. Scalia went on to present the case against the Voting Rights Act himself, from the bench.

What he argued, essentially, is that the Congress had to be rescued from itself by the Supreme Court. No Congressman or Senator can be expected to vote against voting rights, even though the nation really does not need a voting rights law, so it's up to the Supreme Court to nullify the law. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

What Mad Dog would argue is: With the Supreme Court now poised to usurp the role of the legislature, what this country really needs is a Congress which will vote in a court packing, no let's call it a Supreme Court Reinvigoration and Rejuvenation Act, mandating that the President appoint 2 new justices each term and only the 9 most recently appointed justices get to vote. 

And while we are at it--let's be sure those new nominees vow on a stack of Bibles to overturn Florence vs the Board of Freeholders, the strip search decision. Might throw in a litmus test on Citizens United and Bong Hits for Jesus while we are at it.


  1. Mad Dog,
    The enormity of Scalia's ego is truly breathtaking. I was trying to come up with others who could rival him in the megalomania department and could only come up with D. Trump and Kim Jong il, but with one of them politically dead and the other really dead they no longer pose any problem, as opposed to Justice Scalia who seems to be just hitting his stride when it comes to wreaking havoc. Although, I have to admit that despite the very damaging implications of the Voting Rights Act being struck down, I did find Scalia's arguments rather amusing. This guy isn't content with simply assailing the past and present Senate and their vote, he's willing to extend his insults to future senates all the way to perpetuity, convinced that their vote will also be based on cowardice not conviction. Nothing like invoking the ineptitude of the unborn to bolster your argument.

    You also have to wonder how he knows these things-how does he look at the congressional vote and determine it was simply a reaction to their fear of those annoying racially entitled constituents. Does he fancy himself omnipotent or clairvoyant?

    Apparently he's not the alone in his disdain for the democratic process either- it appears he has four cohorts, including Rip Van Winkle Roberts, on his side- I have to say all this is making me more of a supporter of the Supreme Court Reinvigoration and Rejuvenation Act....

  2. Maud,

    Now, sit down and take your own pulse.
    You are, of course, as ever, correct and articulate.
    Mad Dog has a good friend who is a very careful and dispassionate scholar of the Supreme Court and even he was astonished and outraged by that session.
    Would that it would only result in action by the forces of good and light.

    Mad Dog