The Persistent Racist Accusations of the NC NAACP and Its Continued Attempts to Frustrate a Voter ID Law in North Carolina

Rev. Anthony Spearman - NC NAACP (photo courtesty of Virignia Pilot)

(Photo source: Associated Press and the Virginian Pilot)

by Diane Rufino, December 4, 2018

On November 6, an amendment to the North Carolina constitution requiring voters to present a photo identification for voting in person (the “Voter ID” amendment) passed with 55 percent support. The language of that amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092) which gave rise to the amendment, states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

The next step in the process, of course, is to back the amendment up with appropriate legislation. The NC General Assembly officially began that task when it reconvened in Raleigh this week.

With this in mind, we can predict what the North Carolina NAACP, other black activist groups, and Democrats/liberals will do —  challenge any proposed legislation as too strict, too burdensome, and too discriminatory on black voters. Any law will be challenged as an orchestrated attempt to disenfranchise black voters at the ballot.  It has already filed a motion for Summary Judgement to declare all four of the adopted amendments void as being the product of an illegal general assembly (The NC NAACP holds that the election of the 2017-2018 General Assembly body was the product of racially-motivated gerrymandering and hence illegal).

On November 15, Reverend T. Anthony Spearman, the head of the NC NAACP held a press conference and outlined the group’s opposition to a photo ID law.  He said: “The North Carolina NAACP calls on all people of good will to attend the ‘All Roads Lead to Raleigh’ rally on November 27 as we prepare for a usurper general assembly which came to power illegally through racially-discriminatory maps and which will meet in Raleigh in a lame-duck special session to make a final effort to enshrine discrimination in our laws.”

He said the proposed amendments which were on the ballot on November 6 were “misleading and unlawful” and “forced upon North Carolina” by an illegal general assembly.

He continued:

“We will continue to fight the anti-democracy racist Photo ID law and its attempt to suppress black votes. A Photo ID discriminates against blacks, Hispanics, people of color, immigrants, and veterans. These people cannot be disenfranchised from their rightful access to the ballot box. Democracy requires that they have access to the ballot box.

History teaches us, and our hearts know it to be true – morally and constitutionally and practically that North Carolina is trying once again to suppress the votes of black people. I speak to our history……

Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment on March 30, 1870, the slaveholders of North Carolina and the other ten treasonous states who declared war on the red, white, and blue flag and its government, had met in their lily-white caucuses to design schemes to deny and abridge, to suppress and gerrymander the black vote power down to nothing. Like today, in many NC counties, black voters were in the majority and anyone who could count could understand that if people voted by their racial category, the white man was going to lose. Like today, Mr. Berger and Mr. Moore hide in their lily-white caucus in our people’s house, and plan, with all their tricks, how to ram thru legislation and over-ride vetoes. Their motivations are clear. Their intent is to intimidate, trick, and confuse poor black voters…. “

He continued:

“The 15th Amendment states clearly – ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” House Speaker Moore, Senator Berger… What is it about the 15th Amendment’s clear guarantee that you don’t understand?  Perhaps we should hang the 15th Amendment high on a banner outside the lily-white caucus room in which you scheme up your scams. Will you have your police arrest us for holding up the Constitution, which you purport to love? The US Supreme ruled twice, in cases our organization brought, that the Photo ID legislation that you all passed (obviously talking to the NC General Assembly Republicans) was intentionally racist, ‘targeting voters of color with surgical precision.’ (quoting from the decision of the 4th Circuit’s 2016 opinion). You have contemptuously ignored the court’s ruling.

The second sentence of the 15th Amendment is even more elementary than the first. It reads: ‘The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’  In 1965, Congress authorized the Voting Rights Act and re-authorized it three times. Since last Tuesday, many believe the votes are there to pass the bill (the Photo ID bill) that was stalled in the house. Thank God. The House used every trick I the book to abridge, curtail, trick, suppress, supplant, scare, intimidate, humiliate, and violently kill people, characterize them as felons, frame them as felons, imprison them as felons, and create impossible barriers to register – such as finding and producing birth certificates when high proportions of older black voters today were born with midwives with no birth certificates at all.

Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment, sore-loosing slaveholders began organizing a defeated confederate army into secret political societies. In North Carolina, not far from here, in Alamance County, Colonel Sanders, from Chapel Hill, shed his gray uniform and donned a silly-looking white sheet to ride with burning sticks. That being in the White House and Nazi groups were particularly upset when black and white neighbors came together and began challenging the fake history that glorifies the statues of Robert E. Lee.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to erect statues of Ulysses S. Grant across the South since many of our neighbors and students don’t seem to know who won the war to abolish slavery…….”

Wow, what a mouthful of racism….   So much hatred oozing from his words.

NOTE:  Spearman was absolutely INCORRECT (and perhaps even intentionally misleading) in his claim that the US Supreme Court has ruled on the NC Voter ID law. The Supreme Court DECLINED to look at the law (see later).

Well, at least we know now that the NAACP, with its extreme racist political position and its toxic, offensive, racist, and hate-filled rhetoric, is once again hoping to derail honest intentions to ensure honesty and integrity in North Carolina elections and once again framing the initiative (voted on by a majority of the voters in NC) as one pursued by Republicans for the purpose of intentionally disenfranchising blacks. Its intent is clear – to fight a restrictive Photo-Voter ID law.

And keeping its word, the NC NAACP held its protest beginning in the morning of November 27 (as the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly met to take care of business) on the Bicentennial Mall, headlined by its head, Rev. Spearman, and Rev. William Barber. In keeping with his rhetoric of November 15, Spearman shouted these words: “Senator Berger, Speaker Moore, what is it about that clear guarantee in the 15h Amendment that you cannot understand?”

Spearman thinks the racially-divided South of the Jim Crow era and pre-Civil Rights era has never ended. He needs a reality check. Sure, racism existed for a long time in our country. No one can deny that and no one does. But to think that it exists on a level even close to what it did back during the Jim Crow era and even up until the early 1960’s is sheer dishonesty. Although it took far too long for blacks to be recognized with full civil rights, the federal government not only stepped in to solve the problem but it went far beyond, granting all kinds of special protections, government over-sight, court orders, and affirmative action programs to remedy generations of past discrimination. Every race was discriminated at some point in our 20th century history (including Italians, Irish, Chinese, Middle-Easterners – all facing employment practices that excluded them from being hired. All faced horrible stereotypes which translated into the government intentionally limiting their numbers or banning them through our US immigration laws). Yet only one race has received and continues to receive special protection. Just look at all the federal and state laws that protect blacks and punish employers, schools, public accommodations, etc who attempt to discriminate against them. There are even laws that make it particularly easy to sue on the basis of racial discrimination. (When whites sue for discrimination, including when they are discriminated against in their application to universities in favor of blacks who are far less qualified, they are told that there is no law that protects them and hence, those schools are given great latitude and deference as to what they choose to do in reviewing and accepting applicants).  Only one race believes it holds the copyright on discrimination and disenfranchisement.

Writer and journalist Rachel Lu (of The Federalist) is tired what she sees as constant, unfounded accusations of racism from the left. She explains: “Liberals need racist foes to vanquish. Most of the time they have to resort to finding them where they obviously aren’t there.”  What I think she means is that accusations of racism by Democrats and other leftist groups are means to an end.

We see how racial discrimination has been dealt with in employment and public accommodations, so let’s look at how race influences things these days in other areas that really matter:

A 2005 study by Princeton sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung compared the effects of Affirmative Action on racial and special groups at three highly selective private research universities, including Harvard University. The data below, which is from the study, represents admissions disadvantage and advantage in terms of SAT points (on the old 1600-point scale):

Whites (non-recruited athlete/non-legacy status): 0 (control group)

Blacks: +230

Hispanics: +185

Asians: –50

Recruited athletes: +200

Legacies (children of alumni): +160

In other words, whatever the SAT test score that a white applicant received, the university judges that student and weighs his or her application exactly on that score. Whatever SAT score a black applicant received, the university automatically adds 230 additional points to the score before that applicant’s application is reviewed and judged and compared to other applicants. Hispanic applicants have their SAT scores upgraded and recruited athletes as well (and legacies, but we all kinda suspected that). Universities (again, at least the top private universities which were the target of the study) punish Asian applicants by automatically subtracting points from their earned SAT scores before reviewing their applications.

In 2009, Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford, in their book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African Americans who got 1100.

After controlling for grades, test scores, family background (legacy status), and athletic status (whether or not the student was a recruited athlete), Espenshade and Radford found that whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian Americans.

It’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.

President Obama signed two federal orders, one in 2011 and another in 2016, which strengthened the ability to use race-related affirmative action to enroll in elementary and secondary education, as well as an Executive Order to require schools to ease off on punishing blacks in their school discipline policies (Obama assumed that since blacks were disproportionately the target of high school disciplinary action, the policies or the school administrators must be racist]. President Trump rescinded the federal orders.

The NC Voter Integrity Project, in talking about cases of voter fraud in North Carolina, recalls the incident where a black woman voted multiple times. No one wanted to say anything or call her out on it because they were afraid it would create a scene. Finally, on the third or fourth time voting, one poll worker finally questioned her. She immediately started screaming “They are trying to disenfranchise my vote!” She said she was voting for her black neighbor. The poll officials essentially did nothing; she was told to come back with her neighbor. As it turned out, she HAD voted multiple times, she LIED and DECEIVED the poll officials, the poll officials CHOSE to look the other way and ignore the fact that she voted illegally, and poll officials DECLINED to go to the officials about what she had illegally done. Once that brave poll worker left, she could continue to keep voting. (The last attempt at voting, she gave the name of her neighbor, a man).  Imagine if a white man had claimed: “I’m white and they are trying to stop me from voting.”  What do you think the outcome would be?  And people wonder why a photo ID is absolutely necessary.

Again, it’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.

The Supreme Court has said, in so many words and in many different ways, that our laws have done everything possible to eradicate discrimination against blacks and there is nothing else that can, or should be, done. To continue affirmative action programs (except in professional programs, such as law schools, for example) would be to violate the 14th Amendment as reverse-discrimination.  All that being said, I deplore racism in any form, whether it is outright in its action or application or whether it results by disparate application of law or policy. There is something wrong with a person who thinks that just because a person has a different skin color, there is something fundamentally different about what’s underneath – in his or her heart or mind. There isn’t…..  Unless, of course, it is the skin color that compels people to act differently, in a bad way – in a way that harms society. We are all different, on so many levels, but to think that skin color, a feature that a person is born with and has no ability to change (unless he or she is Michael Jackson) somehow makes that person inherently superior or inferior is the very definition of racist.

We can hold our own opinions regarding culture, cultural values, cultural conduct, and cultural priorities, and that is, in fact, where we are today. And that is our right as individuals who are allowed to think freely. It is our right of conscience and are right of association. But what we should never do is think that any one group of persons, simply based on skin color, is inherently inferior or superior. And we should never impute a bad quality to a group of persons simply because of skin color. Yet we see that all too often, from both sides.

And that’s why I hate racists; I hate what they have done to our society and what they continue to do. I hate race baiters and race mongers. I hate that they constantly force people to look at the characteristics that we can’t change, like skin color, rather than the characteristics that we have control over, such as character, personality, intelligence, talent, kindness, goodness, the ability to promote harmony, and the ability to make others smile. I hate racists from both sides. But to be honest, aside from neo-Nazi groups and strict white supremacists, the real racists are the ones on the left, and yes, from the black community like the NC NAACP, the Democratic Party, Reverend Al Sharpton’s black activist group, Black Lives Matter, the liberal mainstream media, and more. No one takes the neo-Nazis or the white supremacist groups seriously; they are lunatic fringe hate groups. Sadly, they have First Amendment rights. But luckily, they are small, powerless groups who don’t organize huge protests or cause any real violence or damage (as a group).  Dylann Roof, the young man who killed 9 when he shot up a black church in Charleston, identified as a white supremacist and even wrote a manifesto following the Travon Martin shooting.

But the more insidious racism comes from the left. President Obama accused every white person of being a racist (“whether they know it or not”), of being incapable of subconsciously thinking that black people are inferior. Hillary Clinton said the exact same thing. Michelle Obama spent almost her entire life seeing the world, and especially academia, in terms of black and white. She accused Princeton of being a racist institution yet protested the school demanding that black students be allowed to have their own dormitory (blacks, she said, have their own issues and shared interests that warrant getting their own living arrangements). As soon as Barack Obama took office, he rushed to judgement, publicly, when a Harvard professor, Henry Gates, a black man, was apprehended by a police officer when he was caught breaking into his own home (he lost his key).  Obama characterized the incident as an all-too-commonplace incident when a white officer racial profiles a black man. The truth of the matter is that Gates was observed by a neighbor who only saw his back, concluded it was an attempted home break-in, and notified the police. She never once said the man was black. When police arrived at the scene, Gates became overly hostile and accused the police of harassing him only because he was black and refused to answer the policeman’s questions. It was Gates who was the racist; it was he who created a racist incident where it didn’t deserve to be. The Black Lives Matter movement encourages blacks to kill white members of law enforcement for no other reason than they are white. Al Sharpton led a march in New York City in protest of supposed police brutality against blacks in which the marchers chanted “What Do We Want?  Dead Cops!  When Do We Want Them?  NOW!”)  The mainstream media perpetuated an incorrect narrative regarding the Travon Martin shooting, reporting that Community Watch leader George Zimmerman stalked and shot Travon because he was black and didn’t belong in the neighborhood. The truth is (I studied the tox reports, the autopsy findings, the court filings, and the case itself) that yes, while Zimmerman was keeping an eye on Travon (in his car), it was Travon who ultimately stalked him, attacked him, and beat him almost to the point of death, prompting Zimmerman to shoot his gun. Travon was high on drugs, had a history of aggressive behavior (was expelled from high school on account of it), had likely became paranoid because he saw Zimmerman keeping an eye on him (a side-effect of the drugs), and became aggressive, jumping Zimmerman, and while on top of him, punching him and beating him so hard that his nose was broken and blood was flowing down his throat and into his lungs. Zimmerman thought he was going to die and felt himself beginning to lose consciousness, which finally prompted him to shoot Travon. We all remember Obama condemning Zimmerman and saying “Travon could be my son.”  The dishonest media, throughout the ordeal, continued to show Travon as a sweet-faced young kid rather than the angry, thug-faced teen he had grown into, all in an effort to push the narrative that the shoot was racially-motivated. And how many times have we heard the testimonies of pro athletes who talk about their lives in the inner city and how they were raised to hate and mistrust whites. Even college-age liberals seem to be indoctrinated with the notion that all whites share a history of discriminating and mistreating blacks and that all whites are inherently given preferential treatment in society, in schools, in employment, in business, etc even when they don’t deserve it (“white privilege”). That term alone tells us that racism is becoming more entrenched in our society.

The truth is that more than ever, we find ourselves faced with gentle societal pressure to view people in terms of skin color and race, even when we don’t want to… even when every instinct and every moral, religious, and practical impulse tells us it is wrong. But Rev. Spearman is wrong to suggest, and to dare perpetuate, the message that the racism of the pre-Civil Rights era is the same racism poisoning our society and guiding our legislature here in North Carolina.

I.  HISTORY OF NC VOTER ID —

In all its prior elections, North Carolina voters were not obligated to show any form of identification at all when they showed up to vote, which seems impossible given the many instances of voter irregularity, the numbers that don’t make sense, the highly questionable votes that continue to roll in even after the election, the persistent appearance of impropriety in several of the counties in NC, the many instances of reported voter fraud by poll workers and other eyewitnesses, the instances of actual verified voter fraud uncovered by the NC Voter Integrity Project, the refusal of the state Board of Elections to prosecute the instances of fraud, and the inconsistencies (pointing to a scheme of voter fraud) unearthed by Major Dave Goetze when he analyzed all the numbers of voters versus recorded votes.

The adoption of a photo ID requirement to vote finally brings North Carolina into alignment with the great majority of other states who have voter identification requirements. Thirty-four states already require some sort of identification for voting in person. Of those, 17 states require a photo ID.

A voter ID must be viewed as a common sense requirement because many Western democracies, in fact, require voter ID in some form.

North Carolina recognized the need for a photo ID to vote, to address the claims and the opportunity for voter fraud and to address the general lack of trust and confidence in the integrity of its elections, and had already passed a valid Voter ID law back in 2013 (HB 589, which was the initial bill that originated in the NC House; it was amended in the Senate and then enacted as SL 2013-381). It was actually an omnibus bill which essentially means that it includes many changes, or packages many smaller bills into one larger single bill that could be passed with only one vote in each house. SL2013-381, in fact, including many changes to North Carolina’s voting laws in addition to adding a photo ID requirement. It was to take effect in 2016, in time for the presidential election. But African-American activist groups, like the NC chapter of the NAACP, protested strongly against it and challenged it in court, alleging the law to be a “blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.” The Federal District Court for the Middle District of NC found no discriminatory intent, but on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 3-judge panel agreed with the petitioners (challengers) and on July 29, 2016, it struct down NC’s Voter ID law as being an intentional attempt to target black voters in its changes to the states’ voter laws. In other words, the 4th Circuit struck the Voter ID law down as being intentionally discriminatory. The opinion of the 4th Circuit will be addressed later, in a little more detail. [The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf ]

The NC state legislature appealed to the US Supreme Court the following May, but the high court refused to grant review. It denied review, not on the merits, and not on the valid issue at hand, but based on a procedural inconsistency. Pat McCrory filed the petition for review but lost his Governor’s seat in 2016 to Roy Cooper, thus making the challenge by the legislature invalid. In the Court’s response to the NC legislature, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘the denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.’” Again, in denying to hear the case, the Supreme Court was not ruling on whether the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel was correct or not in its assessment of the North Carolina law.

After the crushing blow by the activist 4th Circuit, the NC legislature was left to figure out another way to deliver to the NC citizens a Photo ID voter law, a law which was top on their list of demands in sending a Republican majority to Raleigh. A constitutional amendment was the solution. It was not a legislature-driven initiative but rather one voted upon by the people themselves. And the people voted to adopt it. It was their will; it was their voice.

The NC NAACP can’t accuse 55% of the voters of North Carolina of being racist, of being motivated by a desire to disenfranchise blacks.

The more likely motivation was that they were concerned over too many irregularities in North Carolina elections (the election returns in Durham county, for example, back in 2016 ) and over too many stories (many true) of illegals voting and people voting by misappropriating the names of dead persons and those who have moved away. A photo ID requirement which proves to the poll official that the person who is voting is who he or she says he/she is is a simple way to address such opportunities to defraud the voting process (“One Citizen, One Vote”). Voter fraud and election fraud were also the reasons the NC General Assembly pursued a Voter ID law back in 2013, pursuant to a clear mandate pressured by the voters in the 2010 election. People were sick of the shenanigans being pulled at the ballot box. Despite what the mainstream media says about voter fraud, which in regard to this issue is absolutely fake news, the people know the truth. In 2010, Republicans finally secured the majority in both houses of the NC General Assembly (giving them the power to draw legislative districts, a critical move which helped them achieve GOP supermajorities in both the House and Senate). The opportunity finally arrived to address the lack of faith in NC elections and to address actual voter fraud and potential opportunities to commit it.

The voters of North Carolina put pressure on their state legislature for a Voter ID bill through the ballot box in 2010 (Republicans ran on a Voter ID bill) and then again on November 6 when they adopted a constitutional amendment requiring North Carolinians to present a photo ID to vote.

The language of the  Photo ID amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092), states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

On November 21, Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly drafted a bill that describes what forms of photo ID would be allowed. It is considered a strict form of a photo ID bill; that is, it is restrictive in terms of what forms of ID would be allowed. That initial bill (v. 09) would have required persons to show one of the following forms of photo identification when they show up to vote: A North Carolina driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a military ID and veteran ID, tribal IDs, other forms of photo ID issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, a student ID (but only one issued by any of the 17 universities belonging to the UNC university system), and a voter ID card issued by each county’s board of elections office. This week, on Tuesday (Nov. 27), the General Assembly convened for a special two-week lame duck session in order to continue work on the new Voter ID law, as well as to address the other constitutional amendments adopted by voters on election day. Almost immediately, though, a revised draft of the Photo-Voter ID bill was submitted (Senate Bill 824; or S.824 – See below for its content) and as expected, Democrats played their games in an attempt to water-down the bill. From what I am told, the General Assembly will tackle in earnest the legislation to address photo ID next week.

And that is where the amendment stands right now.

The intent of the amendment would suggest that voters want a strict photo ID voter law. Why do I say this?  Considering the intense fight by Democrats and groups representing blacks to oppose and challenge a common-sense Voter ID law (it wasn’t even a strict one) and the intense media opposition campaign by the liberal-controlled media and by the Democrats (with George Soros providing much of the funding) to the Voter ID amendment, it seems obvious that the reason they were (and have been) so intently opposed to any type of voter ID is because they don’t want honest elections. Only a strict photo ID requirement can effectively thwart any of their plans to engage in voter manipulation or fraud.

NC Representatives Michele Presnell (R-Yancey) and John Sauls (R-Lee), both primary sponsors of H.B. 1092, believed the amendment was vital to block election fraud. As Rep. Presnell explained: “Citizens are increasingly concerned about attempts to subvert our elections process and it is incumbent upon government officials to safeguard public perception of our democracy as well as the actual ballots cast.” And Rep. Sauls added: “Confidence in the American democracy is essential to its longevity. Our state must not tolerate anyone’s vote being threatened because lawmakers failed to prevent fraud.”

Which brings us to the special lame-duck session which convened this week. Republicans want a strict form of a Photo ID law and but they face a potential hurdle if they don’t act quickly – Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat and a strong opponent of voter ID laws. In fact, his entire history as Attorney General and we see a little of it also as Governor is that he has little respect for laws that are duly enacted and supported by the majority of the people of the state. He refused to support the Marriage Amendment that was adopted in the state by a ballot initiative (refused to defend it when it was challenged, even though it was his job) and he refused to allow the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s opinion on the 2013 Voter ID law. If Republicans have any chance of passing a strict Photo ID law, it needs to do so while it still enjoys a supermajority on both houses (that is, it needs to pass it before the new General Assembly is sworn in and the 2019-2020 session begins, which will be in January).

Interested persons should review the recent draft (S.824 – see below) and if they have questions or concerns, they should contact their legislators as quickly as possible.

II.  THE RELEVANT LAW

Let’s go back to the accusations made by race-mongers, Rev. Anthony Spearman and Rev. William Barber, and his racist organization, the NC NAACP.  I call them “race mongers” because they and their organization feed off racial stress and racial division. The organization exists only to perpetuate it and in fact, should racial harmony exist, the organization would die. It would become irrelevant; Rev. Spearman would become irrelevant. Rev. William Barber would be irrelevant. These men and this organization (like many similar ones) offer nothing brand new, nothing good, no solutions, but rather, just emphasize and re-emphasize the dispute between the races and the sins of the past.

Let’s look at their accusations that any form of Voter ID law is an absolute “abridgement” of the voting rights guarantee in the 15th Amendment to black people, that all attempts to enact a Voter ID law in North Carolina amounts to an intentional scheme to disenfranchise blacks of their right to vote, and that white legislators, in general, meet in their caucuses for the precise purpose to scheme against blacks and to seek legislation to discriminate against them and to disenfranchise them of rights and privileges and opportunities.

The first step, of course, is to take note of the relevant law, which I’ve summarized below:

A.  The 15th Amendment:

Section 1:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2:  The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

B.  The 14th Amendment:

Section 1:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

C.  Voting Rights Act of 1965 (relevant sections)

Section 4: (a) To assure that the right of citizens of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to which the determinations have been made under subsection (b) or in any political subdivision with respect to which such determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by such State or subdivision against the United States has determined that no such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color: Provided, That no such declaratory judgment shall issue with respect to any plaintiff for a period of five years after the entry of a final judgment of any court of the United States, other than the denial of a declaratory judgment under this section, whether entered prior to or after the enactment of this Act, determining that denials or abridgments of the right to vote on account of race or color through the use of such tests or devices have occurred anywhere in the territory of such plaintiff. An action pursuant to this subsection shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. The court shall retain jurisdiction of any action pursuant to this subsection for five years after judgment and shall reopen the action upon motion of the Attorney General alleging that a test or device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.

If the Attorney General determines that he has no reason to believe that any such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, he shall consent to the entry of such judgment

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a state which (1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percentum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 percentum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.

A determination or certification of the Attorney General or of the Director of the Census under this section or under section 6 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in any court and shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

(c) The phrase “test or device” shall mean any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.

(d) For purposes of this section no State or political subdivision shall be determined to have engaged in the use of tests or devices for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color if (1) incidents of such use have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.

Section 5:  Whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1964, such State or subdivision may institute an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment that such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, and unless and until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure: Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced without such proceeding if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such submission, except that neither the Attorney General’s failure to object nor a declaratory judgment entered under this section shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure. Any action under this section shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.

Source:  https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=100&page=transcript

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has no bearing on NC Voter ID laws since June 2013, when, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the operative section that used to require the federal government to review changes to any state’s voting laws, provided that state had a history of discrimination against African-Americans.

Section 5 is known as the Pre-Clearance Section, which provides that any state or political subdivision thereof meeting the criteria set forth in Sections 4(a)-(b), must have any changes to its voting laws reviewed by a federal court to make sure that such changes do not discriminate outright on account of race or have the effect of doing so. Section 5 was not invalidated, but Section 4 was. Section 4 is the section which establishes the “Pre-Clearance Formula” to determine which state or subdivision thereof comes under the jurisdiction of Section 5. In other words, Section 4 contained the legislative formula to determine which jurisdictions must get “preclearance” from the federal government to change their voting laws—a procedure mandated by Section 5 of the Act. Without Section 4, Section 5 has no effect, since no states or jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance mandate. (The formula hadn’t been updated by Congress since 1975 and so a majority of the Court struck down Section 4 because the formula was far too outdated to pass constitutional muster.)

Note, however, that the Court in Shelby decided to exempt Section 5 from scrutiny, thereby leaving an opening for Congress to enact a new formula that “identifies those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of the current conditions.”

I should go into the Shelby decision a little further since the 2016 4th Circuit opinion striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law touches on it and also because Rev. Spearman is under the impression that the 15th Amendment and Voting Rights Act go hand-in-hand as perpetual law. He believes that the constraints imposed by the Voting Rights Act extend, and should rightly so, into perpetuity. He is under the impression that there is a continual struggle between whites and blacks and that whites will always find ways to disenfranchise blacks to minimize their standing in society. But that just isn’t so.

The following is taken right from the Opinion:  (https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-96 )

FACTS & HISTORY:  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to address entrenched racial discrimination in voting, “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.” South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966).  Section 2 of the Act, which bans any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen . . . to vote on account of race or color,” 42 U. S. C. §1973(a), applies nationwide, is permanent, and is not at issue in this case. Other sections apply only to some parts of the country. Section 4 of the Act provides the “coverage formula,” defining the “covered jurisdictions” as States or political subdivisions that maintained tests or devices as prerequisites to voting, and had low voter registration or turnout, in the 1960s and early 1970s. §1973b(b). In those covered jurisdictions, §5 of the Act provides that no change in voting procedures can take effect until approved by specified federal authorities in Washington, D. C. §1973c(a). Such approval is known as “preclearance.”

The coverage formula and preclearance requirement were initially set to expire after five years, but the Act has been reauthorized several times. In 2006, the Act was reauthorized for an additional 25 years, but the coverage formula was not changed. Coverage still turned on whether a jurisdiction had a voting test in the 1960s or 1970s, and had low voter registration or turnout at that time. Shortly after the 2006 reauthorization, a Texas utility district sought to bail out from the Act’s coverage and, in the alternative, challenged the Act’s constitutionality. This Court resolved the challenge on statutory grounds, but expressed serious doubts about the Act’s continued constitutionality. See Northwest Austin Municipal Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder (2009).

Petitioner Shelby County, in the covered jurisdiction of Alabama, sued the Attorney General in Federal District Court in Washington, D. C., seeking a declaratory judgment that sections 4(b) and 5 are facially unconstitutional, as well as a permanent injunction against their enforcement. The District Court upheld the Act, finding that the evidence before Congress in 2006 was sufficient to justify reauthorizing §5 and continuing §4(b)’s coverage formula. The D. C. Circuit affirmed. After surveying the evidence in the record, that court accepted Congress’s conclusion that §2 litigation remained inadequate in the covered jurisdictions to protect the rights of minority voters, that §5 was therefore still necessary, and that the coverage formula continued to pass constitutional muster.

OPINION & REASONING:  The majority opinion was delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.  The Court held that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, that its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting states and political subdivisions to preclearance. The majority concluded that Section 4(b) exceeded Congress’s power to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, reasoning that the coverage formula conflicts with the constitutional principles of federalism and “equal sovereignty of the states” because the disparate treatment of the states is “based on 40 year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day” and thus is not responsive to current needs. The Court expressed that Congress cannot subject a state to preclearance based simply on past discrimination. The opinion reads:

In Northwest Austin, this Court noted that the Voting Rights Act “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs” and concluded that “a departure from the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty requires a showing that a statute’s disparate geographic coverage is sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” It is this basic principle of sovereignty and also this principle of “burden v. necessity” that guide the Court in addressing the issue presented – in reviewing the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

(1)  State legislation may not contravene federal law. States retain broad autonomy, however, in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government, including “the power to regulate elections.” Gregory v. Ashcroft (1991). There is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States. See Northwest Austin. The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles. It requires States to beseech the Federal Government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have the right to enact and execute on their own. And despite the tradition of equal sovereignty, the Act applies to only nine States (and additional counties). That is why, in 1966 (in Katzenbach), this Court described the Act as “stringent” and “potent.” The Court nonetheless upheld the Act, concluding that such an “uncommon exercise of congressional power” could be justified by “exceptional conditions.”

(2)  In 1966, these departures were justified by the “blight of racial discrimination in voting” that had “infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century” [Katzenbach]. At the time, the coverage formula – the means of linking the exercise of the unprecedented authority with the problem that warranted it – made sense. The Act was limited to areas where Congress found “evidence of actual voting discrimination,” and the covered jurisdictions shared two characteristics: “the use of tests and devices for voter registration, and a voting rate in the 1964 presidential election at least 12 points below the national average.” The Court explained that “tests and devices are relevant to voting discrimination because of their long history as a tool for perpetrating the evil; a low voting rate is pertinent for the obvious reason that widespread disenfranchisement must inevitably affect the number of actual voters.” [Ibid]  The Court therefore concluded that “the coverage formula was rational in both practice and theory.” [Ibid]

(3)  Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “voter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”  See Northwest Austin. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased §5’s restrictions or narrowed the scope of §4’s coverage formula along the way. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger. Because §5 applies only to those jurisdictions singled out by §4, the Court turns to consider that provision.

Later in the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

A statute’s “current burdens” must be justified by “current needs,” and any “disparate geographic coverage” must be “sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” The coverage formula met that test in 1965, but no longer does so.

Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned nationwide for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in the covered States have risen dramatically in the years since. Racial disparity in those numbers was compelling evidence justifying the preclearance remedy and the coverage formula. There is no longer such a disparity…..  The nation is no longer divided along racial lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.

…..  the Fifteenth Amendment commands that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, and it gives Congress the power to enforce that command. The Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future.

In light of the outdated formula, in light of the fact that at one time (1966), the formula was “rational in both practice and theory” (preclearance was a “tailored remedy” under the circumstances) but that times have dramatically changed, and in light of the undue burden it placed on certain states in violation of the Tenth Amendment, the Supreme Court concluded that Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions.

Taking to heart the opinion’s explanation that times have “changed dramatically,” ask yourself a question: Referring to the black women I wrote about much earlier, who had attempted to vote at least three times on a single day in North Carolina, with the poll officials purposely not saying anything about it or turning her in – Does anyone think that such a thing could have ever happened in pre-Civil Rights era America? Does anyone even think such a thing could have happened in 1965?  Absolutely not. That instance shows just how much times have changed and how far behind us we’ve put racial discrimination at the ballot box.

Again, note that Justice Roberts opted to strike down only the formula in Section 4 that determined which jurisdictions would be subject to the preclearance requirements. The Court declined to address the constitutionality of Section 5 (invoking the doctrine of “constitutional avoidance,” which says that a federal court should refuse to rule on a constitutional issue if the case can be resolved on a non-constitutional basis), although it also was challenged by Shelby County, Alabama, thus leaving it in place for Congress, should it ever wish to enact an updated “formula.”  (Giving Congress the chance to address or update Section 5 was the “chance to resolve the issue on a non-constitutional basis”).

As Justice Antonin Scalia said during oral arguments: “Congress reauthorized Section 5 (in 2006) not because the legislation was necessary, but because it constituted a ‘racial entitlement’ that Congress was unlikely to end.”

The important thing to know is that as it stands now, Section 5 has been rendered useless by the decision in Shelby because the provision that gives it force (Section 4) has been struck down as unconstitutional. And because Section 5 is rendered useless, the Voting Rights Act no longer demands and requires federal court review and approval of any changes to North Carolina’s voting laws. (Same for any other southern state previously identified by the law’s “preclearance” provision)

D.  Latest Draft of a NC Photo-Voter ID bill (S.824):

PART I:  IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT REQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHIC IDENTIFICATION TO VOTE

SECTION 1.1(a)  Article 17 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-869.1.  Voter Photo Identification Cards.

(a) The county board of elections shall, in accordance with this section, issue without charge voter photo identification cards upon request to registered voters. The voter photo identification cards shall contain a photograph of the voter and the registration number for that voter. The voter photo identification card shall be used for voting purposes only, and shall expire ten years from the date of issuance.

(b) The State Board shall make available to county board of elections the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards. The county board of elections shall operate and maintain the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards.

(c)  County boards of elections shall maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.

(d)  The State Board shall adopt rules to ensure at a minimum, but not limited to, the following:

(1) A registered voter seeking to obtain a voter photo identification card shall provide the voter’s date of birth and the last four digits of the voter’s social security number.

(2) Voter photo identification cards shall be issued at any time, except during the time period between the end of the voter registration deadline for a primary or election as provided in G.S. 163A-865 and election day for each primary and election.

(3) If the registered voter loses or defaces the voter’s photo identification card, the voter may obtain a duplicate card without charge from his or her county board of registration upon request in person, or by telephone, or mail.

(e) Ninety days prior to expiration, the county board of elections shall notify any voter issued a voter photographic identification card under this section of the impending expiration of the voter photographic identification card.”

SECTION 1.2(a)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.1.  Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person.

(a).  Photo Identification Required to Vote. – When a voter presents to vote in person, the voter shall produce any of the following forms of identification that contain a photograph of the voter:

(1)  Any of the following that is valid and unexpired, or has been expired for one year or less::

  1. A North Carolina drivers license.
  2. A special identification card for nonoperators issued under G.S. 20-37.7 or other form of non-temporary identification issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.
  3. A United States passport.
  4. A North Carolina voter photo identification card of the voter issued pursuant to G.S. 163A-869.1.
  5. A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe.
  6. A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes, provided that card meets all of the following criteria:

(i). Is issued in accordance with a process approved by the State Board that requires an application and proof of identity equivalent to the requirements for issuance of a special identification card by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.

(ii). Is signed by an elected official of the tribe.

  1. A student identification card issued by a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3), provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.2.
  2. An employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.3.
  3. A drivers license or special identification card for nonoperators issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election.

(2)  Any of the following, regardless of whether the identification contains a printed expiration or issuance date:

  1. A military identification card issued by the United States government.
  2. A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for use at Veterans Administration medical facilities.

(3)  Any expired form of identification allowed in this subsection presented by a voter having attained the age of 65 years at the time of presentation at the voting place, provided that the identification was unexpired on the voter’s sixty-fifth birthday.

(b). Verification of Photo Identification. – After presentation of the required identification described in subsection (a) of this section, the precinct officials assigned to check registration shall compare the photograph contained on the required identification with the person presenting to vote. The precinct official shall verify that the photograph is that of the person seeking to vote. If the precinct official disputes that the photograph contained on the required identification is the person presenting to vote, a challenge shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures of G.S. 163A-914.

(c)  Provisional Ballot Required Without Photo Identification. – If the registered voter cannot produce the identification as required in subsection (a) of this section, the voter may cast a provisional ballot that is counted only if the voter brings a valid and current photo identification to the county board of elections no later than the end of business on the business day prior to the canvass by the county board of elections as provided in G.S. 163A-1172.

(d)  Exceptions. – The following exceptions are provided for a voter who does not produce a valid and current photograph identification as required above:

(1) Religious Objection. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification due to a religious objection to being photographed, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) has a religious objection to being photographed. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(2) Reasonable Impediment. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification because the voter suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from obtaining photograph identification,

the voter may complete an affidavit under the penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from presenting photograph identification. The voter also shall complete a reasonable impediment declaration form provided in subsection (d1) of this section, unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(3) Natural Disaster. – If a voter does not produce an acceptable form of photograph identification due to being a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) was a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(d1) Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form. – The State Board shall adopt a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form that, at a minimum, includes the following as separate boxes that a voter may check to identify the voter’s reasonable impediment:

(1)  Inability to obtain photo identification due to:

  1. Lack of transportation.
  2. Disability or illness.
  3. Lack of birth certificate or other underlying documents required.
  4. Work schedule.
  5. Family responsibilities.

(2)  Lost or stolen photo identification

(3)  Photo identification applied for but not yet received by the voter voting in person.

(4)  Other reasonable impediment. If the voter checks the “other reasonable impediment” box, a further brief written identification of the reasonable impediment shall be required, including the option to indicate that State or federal law prohibits listing the impediment.

(e)  County Board Review of Exceptions. – If the county board of elections determines that the voter voted a provisional ballot only due to the inability to provide proof of identification and the required affidavit required in subsection (d) of this section is submitted, the county board of elections shall find that the provisional ballot is valid unless the county board has grounds to believe the affidavit is false.

(f)  Purpose. The purpose of the identification required is to confirm the person presenting to vote is the voter on the voter registration records. Any address listed on the identification is not determinative of a voter’s residence for the purpose of voting. A voter’s residence for the purpose of voting is determined pursuant to G.S. 163A-842.

SECTION 1.2(b)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.2.  Approval of Student Identification Cards for Voting Identification.

(a) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:

(1) The chancellor, president, or registrar of the university or college submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:

  1. The identification cards that are issued by the university or college contain photographs of students taken by the university or college or its agents or contractors.
  2. The identification cards are issued after an enrollment process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the student that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the student.
  3. The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
  4. Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for student discipline or termination of an employee.
  5. University or college officials would report any misuse of student identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
  6. The cards issued by the university or college contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
  7. The university or college provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.

(2) The university or college complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the student identification process.

(b) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) every four years.

(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating universities and colleges every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.”

SECTION 1.2(c)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.3.  Approval of Employee Identification Cards for Voting Identification.

(a) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:

(1) The head elected official or lead human resources employee of the state or local government entity or charter school submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:

  1. The identification cards that are issued by the state or local government entity contain photographs of the employees taken by the employing entity or its agents or contractors.
  2. The identification cards are issued after an employment application process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the employee that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the employee.
  3. The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
  4. Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for termination of an employee.
  5. State or local officials would report any misuse of identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
  6. The cards issued by the state or local government entity contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
  7. The state or local government entity provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.

(2) The state or local government entity complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the employee identification process.

(b) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, every four years.

(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating employing entities every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.

SECTION 1.2(d)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, the State Board shall approve (i) tribal enrollment cards issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes; (ii) student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3); and (iii) employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for use as voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 no later than March 15, 2019, for use in primaries and elections held in 2019 and 2020, and again no later than May 15, 2021, for elections held on or after that date. The State Board shall adopt temporary rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than February 1, 2019. The State Board shall adopt permanent rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than May 15, 2021. The State Board shall produce the initial list of participating institutions and employing entities no later than April 1, 2019.

SECTION 1.2(e)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, a student identification card issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) or an employee identification card issued by state or local government entity that does not contain an expiration date shall be eligible for use in any election held before January 1, 2021. 9

SECTION 1.2(f)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1(d)(2), for elections held in 2019, any voter who does not present a photograph identification listed as acceptable in G.S. 163A-1145.1(a) when presenting to vote in person shall be allowed to complete a reasonable impediment affidavit and cast a provisional ballot, listing as the impediment not being aware of the requirement to present photograph identification when voting in person or failing to bring photograph identification to the voting place.

***  Language and sections highlighted in bold are the revisions to the original draft proposed by lawmakers just prior to the start of the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly.

[Source:  The draft bill (S.824) –  https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/PDF/S824v2.pdf

The changes made to the original draft Voter ID bill (v. 09) which gave rise to S.824 are listed in more plain terms below:

(a) SECTION 1.1(a) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – requiring county boards of election to maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.

(b) SECTION 1.2(a) broadens the section in § 163A-1145.1: Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person which lists Student ID cards as an acceptable form of photo identification. In the prior version of the bill, the only acceptable student ID cards were those issued by any of the 17 schools belonging to the UNC University system.

(c) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – adding Employment Identification cards as an acceptable form of photo identification.

(d) SECTION 1.1(b) adds additional language to the section (“Exceptions – Reasonable Impediment”) in § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards. It further includes Section (dl) which requires that a voter claiming a Reasonable Impediment to fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form.

(e) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new subsection to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – to section “Exceptions.” The new exception is “Natural Disaster.”

(f) All the sections after that – Sections 1.2 (c) – 1.2 (f) – are newly-added; that is, they are new to S.824.

E.  The Opinion of the Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2008) – upholding the constitutionality of a strict photo ID type voter ID law

In 2005, Indiana passed a strict Voter ID law.  It was the most restrictive voter law at the time. The Indiana statute required citizens voting in person on election day, or casting a ballot in person at the office of the circuit court clerk prior to election day, to present photo identification issued by the government.

Under the law, voters MUST have a specific form of ID in order to vote. The ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:

  • Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
  • Photo of the person to whom it was issued
  • Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)

Voters in Indiana who are unable to or decline to produce such an identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if: (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason.  [Indiana statute §3-5-2-40.5, 3-10-1-7.2 and 3-11-8-25.1]

The strict photo identification requirement was challenged as being an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that challenge made its way to the Supreme Court in 2008.  [Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, (2008)].  Civil rights groups (including ACORN), the Women’s League of Voters, and other groups filed amici briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ID requirement.  After concluding that no voter would conceivably be precluded from voting under the law, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, finding it closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. He opined: “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons—e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate—is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”

He concluded:

      “In sum, on the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes “excessively burdensome requirements” on any class of voters. A facial challenge must fail where the statute has a ‘plainly legitimate sweep.’ When we consider only the statute’s broad application to all Indiana voters we conclude that it imposes only a limited burden on voters’ rights. The precise interests advanced by the State are therefore sufficient to defeat petitioners’ facial challenge.

      Finally we note that petitioners have not demonstrated that the proper remedy – even assuming an unjustified burden on some voters – would be to invalidate the entire statute. When evaluating a neutral, nondiscriminatory regulation of voting procedure, we must keep in mind that a ruling of unconstitutionality frustrates the intent of the elected representatives of the people.”

Justice Scalia wrote separately in a concurring opinion: “The law should be upheld because the overall burden is minimal and justified.”  He went on to state that the Supreme Court should defer to state and local legislators and that the Supreme Court should not get involved in local election law cases, which would do nothing but encourage more litigation. “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class,” he wrote.

Finally, he concluded: “The universally applicable requirements of Indiana’s voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not “even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.”  And the State’s interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden. That should end the matter.”

In addition to the challenge that the strict ID requirement was an unreasonable burden on the right to vote, civil rights groups alleged that the requirement benefitted Republicans and harmed Democrats at the ballot box (because Democrats include more poor people and minorities).  Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, disregarded that argument and wrote: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.”

What exactly does the Indiana Voter ID law require of each voter when he or she shows up to vote?  This is important because according to the Supreme Court, the ID requirement is NOT an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote.  The Supreme Court did not say it was not an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote for a WHITE person.  The Court held that the limitation was not an unreasonable limitation on any person’s right to vote.

F.  The Opinion of the 4th Circuit, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory (2016) – striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID Law

Reverend Spearman points to the opinion of the leftist 4th Circuit as proof that North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID law was intentionally racist and racially-motivated, that the NC General Assembly is a racist government body, and that any law enacted in North Carolina to regulate voting (particularly to address potential fraud and integrity concerns) is nothing more than an intentional scheme to continue the historical repression of black votes. He points to the language of the opinion, which just happens to sing his favorite tune. The language also happens to be horribly offensive and I submit, legally dishonest.

But first let’s look at the judicial history:  The day the NC Voter ID law was passed (SL 2013-381).

On August 12, 2013, the NC General Assembly, with the signature of Governor Pat McCrory, enacted the first NC Voter ID law [Carolina Session Law 2013-381, or “SL 2013-381”], which made a number of changes to North Carolina’s voting laws.  All the changes were to take effect immediately except for the voter photo ID requirement, which would not be effective until January 1, 2016.  That same day, the NC NAACP joined several groups in suing to overturn several provisions – provisions they alleged as being racially motivated: the photo-ID requirement, elimination of same-day registration (“SDR”), elimination of the first week of early voting (shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days), elimination of one of the two “souls-to-the-polls” Sunday voting days (which allow churches to provide transportation to voters), prohibition on counting out-of-precinct (“OOP”) provisional ballots, elimination of mandatory pre-registration of sixteen-year-olds (when they attend mandatory high school driver’s education or go to the DMV to obtain a drivers license), and expansion of poll observers and ballot challenges.

Trial was set for July 13, 2015.  On June 18, 2015, the NC General Assembly passed House Bill 836, and on June 22, 2015, the Governor signed it into law as North Carolina Session Law 2015-103 (“SL 2015-103”). The law relaxed the photo-ID requirement created by SL 2013-381 by providing an additional exception that permits individuals to vote without a photo ID so long as they sign a “reasonable impediment” affidavit. Beginning July 13, 2015, the district court held a trial on the merits of all claims except those challenging the merits of the photo-ID provision, but then the NC NAACP and other plaintiffs sought to also ask the court for an injunction preventing the implementation of the “watered-down” photo ID requirement (as amended, or “watered down” by the “reasonable impediment” provision). In all, the NC NAACP sought a preliminary injunction against the challenged changes to existing voting laws and a preliminary injunction only as to the “soft roll-out” of the photo ID requirement.”  The district court denied the injunctions, concluding that the plaintiffs did not make a strong enough showing that they would succeed on the merits of their case. The court held that the NC General Assembly did not act with discriminatory intent in enacting its Voter ID omnibus bill and deferred to its wisdom and intent in drafting and passing the law.

The case was then appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the opinion of the District Court. The opinion was written by Judge Motz.

The 4th Circuit 3-judge panel noted that all of the voting tools restricted or eliminated by the bill were ones that African-Americans disproportionately used. Furthermore, according to the court, the photo ID requirement imposed a hardship on African-American as they disproportionately lacked them.  [Note again that the legislature had amended the bill, in 2015 (version SL 2013-103) before its trial date to include other forms of identification that African-Americans would likely possess, as well as to include a provision providing that if a person could not produce a photo ID, a one free of charge would be provided by the county, but the 4th Circuit ignored that]. Essentially, the 4th Circuit concluded that the NC state legislature acted with discriminatory intent in enacting the 2013 Voter ID bill because it restricted voting mechanisms and procedures that most heavily affect blacks.

The opinion began:

“During the period in which North Carolina jurisdictions were covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (preclearance of any voting laws with the US Justice Department), African-American electoral participation dramatically improved.  In particular, between 2000 and 2012, when the law provided for the voting mechanisms at issue here (ie, early voting, Sunday voting, same-day voting, provisional voting) and did not require photo ID, African-American voter registration swelled by 51.1% – as compared to an increase of only 15.8% for white voters.  African-American turnout similarly surged, from 41.9% in 2000 to 71.5% in 2008 and 68.5% in 2012.”

[The 4th Circuit incorrectly credited North Carolina’s very relaxed voting laws with the African-American voter turn-out when the truth is that the turn out was exceptionally high, in relation to white voter turn-out,] because for the first time in our country’s history, an African-American was running for president. The African-American community couldn’t be more energized!]

The opinion continued:

“After years of preclearance and expansion of voting access, by 2013 African-American registration and turnout rates had finally reached near-parity with white registration and turnout rates. African-Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force.”

The judges concluded that the sole purpose of the Voter ID law was to prevent that from happening.

In late June 2013, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that held enormous implications for North Carolina.  In it, the Court invalidated Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which provided the preclearance coverage formula to be used by the federal government when assessing a change to a state voting law under Section 5.  The government reviews changes to state voting laws under the Voting Rights Act one of two ways: either in an administrative review by the Attorney General, or in court, in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court in Shelby found that Section 4 was unconstitutional as an undue burden on the States’ inherent sovereign powers under the Tenth Amendment because it continued to rely on greatly outdated data which had no place in our current times. finding it based on outdated data. [The Shelby v. Holder case was addressed in detail earlier). Consequently, as of that date (late June 2013), North Carolina no longer needed to preclear changes to its election laws. It was no longer under the historic presumption that any changes to election laws would be an intentional scheme to  disenfranchise African-American voters. North Carolina was free from the taint of its discriminatory past.

Up until that decision, the NC legislature had been working on a Voter ID bill. Voters were getting very impatient, but the legislators assured their constituents that a good, legally-sound bill would take time; it needed to be reviewed and re-reviewed by lawyers in order to make sure it would be “challenge-proof. When the Shelby decision came out, the legislature decided to enlarge the Voter ID bill into an omnibus bill, seeking several changes to what was without a doubt, an extensive early voting period. That bill would become Session Law (“SL”) 2013-381, which we all knew as the 2013 NC Voter ID bill.

Noting that the Shelby opinion came out just as blacks had become energized to vote and as the NC legislature was putting its Voter ID in final form, the 4th Circuit concluded that is when the so-called “racist” republicans (the court’s view) hatched their diabolical discriminatory scheme to disenfranchise black voters.

The opinion read:

“But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law.  Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices used in North Carolina.  Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.”

The court continued: “In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications.”  I bring this particular statement up because of several reasons:

(1)  The justifications were sufficient for the district court. As a court is supposed to do, it defers judgement and wisdom to the legislative branch when reviewing a law, being careful not to substitute its judgement.

(2)  The court mocked the “justifications” offered by the NC legislature, namely voter fraud and potential for voter fraud, claiming the law was passed to “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”

(3)  Evidence of voter fraud was not allowed at the trial court (the District Court). I asked Jay Delancy of the Voter Integrity Project, the most reputable group addressing NC voter fraud, the group which has investigated and uncovered verified cases of actual voter fraud, voter fraud schemes, evidence of possible organized criminality in voter and election fraud, and serious potential opportunities for fraud, if he had been asked to give testimony, he told me that he was not allowed to.  It is important to note that the Circuit Courts are appeals courts and so it does not hear any testimony. It just reviews the record sent up from the District Court. If the District Court has no evidence (or allowed no evidence) of voter or election fraud, then the Circuit Court cannot assess the credibility of the issue and hence its justification for the Voter ID omnibus bill.

(4)  Consequently, the court lacks the foundation and knowledge to state that “the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation…..  which is intentional discrimination.”

“The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision….  And this bears the mark of intentional discrimination,” wrote the court.

In reaching its conclusion that the NC General Assembly “enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent,” the 4th Circuit pointed to what it called a “smoking gun.” As mentioned earlier, prior to the enactment of SL 2013-381, the legislature requested and received data as to the racial breakdown of usage of each of the early voting tools and practices that it was seeking to amend. The data was requested and collected in order to help enlighten and guide the General Assembly in its task to amend the state’s voting laws. The goal, as it had always been, was to address actual and potential voter fraud (and election fraud), and to remove and minimize such opportunities. The district court concluded as such but the 4th Circuit could only think in terms of race.

That “smoking gun,” by the way, had nothing to do with any requirement to show a photo ID to vote since that provision was a brand new provision and had not yet been in effect for any election; hence, it could not be evaluated. The “photo ID” requirement was actually a voter initiative. Voters were demanding it of their candidates and then when elected, of their representatives. Since only conservatives believe in voter integrity, it made sense that it became a priority when Republicans finally took control of the state government.

The 4th Circuit looked at the data the legislature collected and the changes it made to the state’s voting laws and concluded that according to the data, every change made was one that disproportionately affected African-Americans. Each of the voting tools and practices eliminated or restricted were ones that African-Americans disproportionately took advantage of.  They apparently take advantage of the first 7 days of early voting, their churches use the souls-to-the-polls Sundays, they take advantage of same-day voting and same-day registration, they, for some reason, are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the out-of-precinct voting (“of those registered voters who happened to vote provisional ballots outside their resident precinct, a disproportionately high percentage were African American”), and apparently, they disproportionately benefit from pre-registration (I don’t know how there can be any racial preference here at all). As the opinion read:

“In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. ‘In essence,’ as in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006), ‘the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it.’ This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.  Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

Furthermore, it read: “The record makes obvious that the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party.  Identifying and restricting the ways African-Americans vote was an easy and effective way to do so.  We therefore must conclude that race constituted a but-for cause of SL 2013-381, in violation of the Constitutional and statutory prohibitions on intentional discrimination.”

What I don’t understand is how the court concluded that a photo ID constituted intentional discrimination against African-Americans when many states already require photo ID’s to vote, including strict photo ID laws, and the law itself provides one free of charge to anyone who doesn’t have one or cannot afford one.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court held in Crawford v. Marion County (2008) that a strict photo ID requirement to vote, to prove the identity of the person seeking to cast a vote, does not constitute an undue burden at all on anyone in their exercise of the right to vote. It addressed a challenge to Indiana’s strict photo ID law and upheld it. (North Carolina’s Voter ID law was modeled after it).  There are black people in Indiana, there are poor black people in Indiana, there are elderly people there, and there are poor elderly there; yet the Supreme Court, after reviewing all the evidence and testimony given at the district court level, still concluded that requiring a photo ID as a condition to vote in person is not discriminatory and does not impose an undue burden.

The court, in its analysis,  I believe, committed several serious errors. First, it converted a privilege (a long early voting period, two Sunday voting days, same-day registration, etc) into an entitlement. Instead of looking into whether the changes would absolutely prevent any voter who really wished to vote from doing so, the court should have looked into whether blacks would likely be able to conform with the stream-lining of the voting laws. What are voters actually entitled to when it comes to early voting and opportunities to register? And what are African-Americans specifically entitled to, above and beyond what are offered to persons of other races?

Up until the end of 1990’s, voters in North Carolina were only “entitled to” one day to vote – Election Day, a Tuesday. If a voter couldn’t vote at that time, he or she could either submit an absentee ballot or forfeit the opportunity. At what point must we submit to making election increasingly more convenient, especially when apparently, only one group of voters benefits?  Remember, there are significant costs associated with early voting.

Second, despite the Supreme Court’s holding in Shelby that the DOJ and courts should no longer rely on or consider historical discrimination, the 4th Circuit did exactly that. In its opinion, it continually reminded the reader of North Carolina’s “shameful” history of “past discrimination.” In its introduction, the opinion noted: “Unquestionably, North Carolina has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based vote suppression in particular.  Although we recognize its limited weight, see Shelby, North Carolina’s pre-1965 history of pernicious discrimination informs our inquiry. It was in the South that slavery was upheld by law until uprooted by the Civil War, that the reign of Jim Crow denied blacks the most basic freedoms, and that state and local governments worked tirelessly to disenfranchise citizens on the basis of race.”

Third, in forming it’s opinion, the 4th Circuit did something that a court is never supposed to do (under the Separation of Powers doctrine) and that was to substitute its judgment for that of the legislature. To the court, the justifications in enacting the law may not have seemed good enough. Maybe the court felt that the excessive voting tools and voting mechanisms to benefit predominantly black voters were more important than addressing voter fraud, election fraud, ensuring voter confidence in NC elections, costs, etc. But that is exactly what a court must not do – substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body responsible to its particular constituency, its taxpayers. Here are some justifications that the 4th Circuit should have considered rather than dismiss:

(a)  Early voting imposes a tremendous cost. It is a rightful exercise of the legislative body to try to keep state costs at a minimum.

(b)  Maybe the General Assembly asked for the data, broken down by race, etc, in order to streamline early voting and to streamline the voting laws in such a way that when extra days, extra procedures benefit only one race instead of everyone, then that would seem a common sense way to look at making changes.

(c)  Maybe the General Assembly had access to information related to voter fraud in the state, when it is committed, by which group of people, etc and the changes made to the voting laws were intended to minimize the potential for voter fraud and election fraud. What I do know is that certain of the voting tools and procedures originally permitted in North Carolina have been great sources of problems. Pre-registration, same-day registration, same-day voting pose great potential for abuse and voter fraud. And what I also know is that decent people of good intentions have watched for years as the democrat-controlled State Board of Election did absolutely nothing when faced with hard evidence of actual voter fraud. It refused to prosecute any of the criminals.

(d)  Perhaps the streamlining of voter laws, its voting mechanisms and voting tools, was strictly political rather than racial. Since one cannot separate race from political party in North Carolina (blacks make up 22% of North Carolina’s electorate, and 83% identify with the Democrat Party), so every law affecting a political party in general also affects blacks particularly. In fact, having black skin is a better predictor for voting Democratic than party registration here in North Carolina. Maybe the General Assembly, with Republicans in the majority and wanting to continue enjoying political power, thought that it made sense to amend the voting laws by eliminating or paring back those tools and mechanisms that Democrats particularly take advantage of. The justification would be political (as political parties are prone to do) rather than racial. Here is something else to consider:

(e)  Perhaps the General Assembly had some data and facts and figures to support their photo ID requirement, such as:

(i)  Black voter turnout was higher than white voter turnout in 2012, including in states that had implemented voter ID laws. (This is according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and even the leftist PolitiFact)

(ii)  A recent study of the 2010 and 2012 primaries and general elections shows that voter ID laws did not disproportionately decrease minority turnout. (In fact, the study showed that turnout declined for people of all races from 43 to 31 percent, as ID requirements became stricter).  Contrary to what the left claims, photo ID requirements don not discriminate disproportionately according to race.

(iii)  Despite what the left argues and the mainstream media reports, voter fraud does exist. In 2012, the Pew Research Center found the following:

  • There were almost “24 million active voter registrations in the US which were either invalid or inaccurate
  • There were almost two million dead Americans were still on the active voting lists.
  • 12 million voter records were riddled with “incorrect addresses or other errors.”
  • Almost 2.75 million voters were registered in over one state.
  • 6.4% of all noncitizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2% voted in the 2010 midterms. (80% of illegals vote Democratic)

(iv)  In a close election, voter fraud could play a significant role. There is evidence that Al Franken, in fact, won his election due to voter fraud, with illegals playing a part.

(v)  Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws, including Democrats and blacks. Poll after poll confirms this, including the Rasmussen Poll, the FOX News Poll, and the Washington Post Poll.

Again, a court’s role is simple and must never presume to impart a different intention to, or to substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body.  That is why, under the Separation of Powers doctrine, each branch of government has its own separate role.

III.  THE ANALYSIS

So let’s look at the NC Photo-Voter ID Bill and assess it in light of the requirements of the 15th and 14th Amendments, as guided by the Supreme Court’s opinions in Shelby v. Holder and Crawford v. Marion County.

First of all, recall that the 14th and 15th Amendments, together with the 13th, are the Reconstruction amendments abolishing slavery and then granting blacks rights of citizenship (constitutional and civil. The amendments were intended to serve a specific purpose, necessitated by the political situation created by an unconstitutional war and in part, motivated by a desire to punish the southern states for seceding.

All three amendments, for the particular purposes they served, were morally justified – the 13th to abolish the vile and unconscionable institution of slavery, the 14th to grant citizenship to the free blacks and newly-freed slaves (and in fact, to define citizenship since nowhere in the Constitution is it defined), to ensure they were recognized with the same rights as every other citizen, to make sure they would not be denied due process should their liberty rights or property rights be violated, and to make sure they would be assured equal protection under the law, and the 15th to make sure that blacks would not be denied the right to vote.

The 15th Amendment was indeed striking in what it accomplished. On March 30, 1870, the amendment immediately made voters out of 4,000,000 people who had only 13 years earlier, been declared by the highest tribunal in the land (the Supreme Court, in the 1857 Dred Scott decision), as not being capable of becoming citizens of the United States because the black man who never intended to be part of the country so created, that “black men had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” (conclusions articulated by Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the opinion in Dred Scott). But let’s not read anything more into the language or intent of the 15th Amendment than was intended.

The 15th Amendment simply states that the right to vote cannot be denied or abridged to a person on account of race (ie, blacks cannot be denied the right to vote).  We know what the word “denied” means and we know what the word “abridged” means (to curtail). The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill does nothing to deny or abridge the right. It puts reasonable procedures in place to guarantee the right to vote for everyone Every instance of voter fraud cancels someone’s rightful vote. Obtaining an identification with a photograph is not unduly burdensome and is, in fact, is something that 99.99% of the people already do once they come of age and what they need to carry out many of life’s functions – such as get medication, pick up a check, cash a check, use a check or credit card, enter a school building, enter a courthouse, fly, etc. The Supreme Court has already ruled (in 2008, in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections) that a voter ID law requiring persons who show up at the polls to vote to present a government-issued form of photo identification (strict photo ID requirement) presents no meaningful burden to a person’s right to vote.  It’s 2018, for crying out loud !!!

The second section of the 15th Amendment which provides that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation,” does NOT imply that the Voter Rights Act is a permanent law to be used on the South.  That section simply means that when states or political subdivisions thereof employ verifiable schemes of black voter suppression or actual disenfranchisement of the black vote, the federal government has the authority to step in to correct the situation in order to give meaning to the guarantee in Section 1. The Supreme Court, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) made the constitutional determination that the Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness against the south because those invidious schemes no longer exist.

To repeat, Shelby removes North Carolina from the preclearance requirement with the federal government (NC can now do its own thing !) and Crawford stands for the constitutional bright-line rule that a strict photo ID is not inherently racist or discriminatory and does not pose any meaningful burden on a person’s right or ability to vote.

Furthermore, according to the Supreme Court, all rights can be abridged. We already know the first amendment rights to speech and religion, the rights to be free from searches, and the right to obtain and possess guns are already abridged.

The 14th Amendment provides that all laws should be equally applied to everyone (“Equal Protection;” everyone is protected or served equally by our laws).  The 14th Amendment requires “equal” protection and not “special” protection. The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill is neutral on its face and is written to ensure that every single voter can meet its requirements, including the poor and the elderly. A photo ID will be provided, free of charge, to anyone who cannot afford one and it will be provided at all county board of elections (which is more convenient than waiting in line at DMV locations).  Everyone knows someone that drives. To make any argument that certain people are too poor or too isolated to be able to find someone to give them a ride would be to assume we never modernized or entered the industrial era. A country, and a court system, so intent on moving forward with such sweeping social change like same-sex marriage and transgender acceptance can’t at the same time, assume people can’t get access to a car or a phone or a computer or a DMV or other county office.

Just because changing a law makes it easier or more convenient for only one group to vote doesn’t mean that the 15th or 14th Amendment requires that change. Heck, extending the election season for a whole month and including 4 “souls-to-the-polls” Sundays would be really convenient, right?  Taking votes over the phone would be convenient, yes?  Allowing one family member to vote for everyone in the family, and extended family, would be perfect, for sure!  Just because the legislative body or the voting public doesn’t want to make the changes (and sacrifice voter integrity) doesn’t mean the bill is racist or the voting public is racist, or the state legislature is racist. Groups like the North Carolina NAACP have to stop that nonsensical rhetoric.

NOTHING in the VOTER ID law of 2013 or in the current draft Photo-Voter ID law integrally impairs ANYONE’s right to vote. There is the single entitlement – the right to vote on Election Day (as was the law in NC up until the end of the 21st century (late 1990’s) and the right to submit an Absentee ballot if a person can’t make it to the polling location in person. All the other voting tools and mechanisms are privileges, or “indulgences” (as Justice Scalia termed them). The state interest (in honest, fraud-free elections that comports with the constitutional principle of “one citizen, one vote”) clearly outweighs any claims that a strict photo ID requirement may burden one group of voters. Again, the expectation is that EVERYONE’S vote is important, and the legislature has an obligation to protect the integrity of each person’s vote. Every instance of voter fraud, which we know has become a serious problem here in North Carolina, diminishes the weight of honest citizens. Every instance of voter fraud cancels the vote of someone who has voted legally.

Recently, I watched a YouTube video by journalist Ami Horowitz to examine just what people think of the NC photo ID law and the argument that blacks in North Carolina don’t all have a photo ID and that some simply can’t get one. It was rather enlightening. Ami went to the campus of UC-Berkeley to find out what college students think of voter ID laws and whether they believe they suppress the black vote. Their responses are classic liberal rhetoric. It is clear that white liberal college students have been indoctrinated by the rhetoric of Democrats and by such racist groups as the NAACP which alleges and alleges and repeats and repeats the same accusation – that voter ID laws are racist, they target blacks in their ability to vote, and that blacks are a particularly disadvantaged, incapable, uninformed, unskilled group of people.

Horowitz then took his “On the Street” segment to east Harlem, New York City to find out what black people there thought of the answers that the UC-Berkeley students gave. Their responses were clear – the answers given by the white UC-Berkeley students was offensive, and yes, racist.  Each person questioned had a photo ID on them, they said to be without one would be irresponsible, and not a single one thought it would be impossible to get one. To them, it appeared that blacks in the South have been stereotyped, to the detriment of their race in general. They could not understand the notion that fellow blacks couldn’t get a photo ID, something that everyone in modern society must have.

The point I am clumsily making is that groups like the NC NAACP and other groups that pursue policy (including challenging common-sense Voter ID and Photo ID laws) by promoting the inability of blacks, by alleging that whites use government to scheme in order to disenfranchise blacks, and by claiming that blacks are still the target of intentional discrimination are indirectly perpetuating the old stereotype that blacks are victims, that blacks are a disadvantaged race, that they are somehow less capable than every other race to conform with neutral laws. How offensive is it to allow the same stereotypes to be perpetuated as the one cited by Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision? That was 160 years ago.  By constantly using arguments like blacks are too poor to be expected to get an ID, that they don’t have cars to drive to a DMV to get a free county-issued ID, that they are too uneducated to understand laws, that they can’t get to a computer (all libraries have them for people to use), that they don’t have cell phones (even though Obama gave every Democrat a phone), and that even if they could get to a computer, they lack the skills to use one or the ability to learn how to use one, they are teaching and indirectly recreating the segregated society that we left behind long ago, where there exists two general races – blacks who are generally inferior and unable to do for themselves and all others, who have no problem complying with laws.

We’ve worked too hard as a society – passing laws, enacting policies, federalizing traditional state sovereign functions, remedying past wrongs, whites teaching their children that skin color is irrelevant, and hopefully blacks teaching their children the same, and reinforcing in all school children, and in fact, every single person, of the plight of blacks in this country (Black History Month) – to put the wrongs of the past behind us and to move forward in a colorblind society, judging one another not by the color of our skin (which we can’t change) but by the content of our character (which is something each of us controls). It serves no purpose whatsoever to keep rehashing the past and reminding folks of how bad our country used to be. We can’t move forward until the restraints of the past are removed, or ignored. Black activist groups such as the NC NAACP certainly aren’t empowering blacks by poisoning them with the notion that they continue to need special protections in order to take an equal place in American society.

IV.  CONCLUSION

There is a reason the NC NAACP fights so hard to oppose a Voter ID. It truly can’t be that the NAACP and the Democratic Party believe that blacks are unable to obtain a photo ID (something every other race has no problem obtaining). No, the real reason is that the Democratic Party NEEDS the ability and opportunity to perpetrate fraud in the election process to order to win elections. It’s been that way since the illegal election of John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, as president, and even the election of Roy Cooper, a Democrat, as North Carolina’s governor. The NC NAACP and Democratic Party need elections in North Carolina to be loosely-controlled. NC is a potential swing state and because both groups stand on the same side of the political fence, they have more than a vested interest in how politics plays out.

The NC NAACP and Democratic Party in North Carolina continue to imply that blacks are disadvantaged in many many respects [poor, uneducated, uniformed, more likely to move around (you need a car for that!!), have more health problems, less access to technology, have less ability to comprehend laws, etc etc], are inferiorly-situated (because of the aforementioned issues), and inferior in general (by their claims of being less educated, less knowledgeable, generally un-informed and less capable) in order to make the case that a photo ID is inherently discriminatory. We see clearly which party is the real racist party.  What I don’t understand  is why blacks tolerate it. Their opposition to voting laws that take away excessive mechanisms and voting opportunities and tools, their support for Affirmative Action programs, and their constant demands for “special protection” rather than “equal protection” are all tacit ways they accept their inferior status in our society. Where is their dignity? Where are the black activist groups to stand up to oppose these positions on the grounds that they are racist and perpetuate horrible stereotypes?

Again, the real reason the NC NAACP and the Democratic Party fight so hard to oppose a strict photo voter ID law is because requiring a photo ID at the polls will frustrate their schemes to perpetrate voter fraud and blacks, as always, are the perfect group to manipulate and use to challenge common-sense laws. In 2018 (53 years after the Civil Rights Act passed and 63 years after the forced integration of public schools) we should NOT be having this conversation and blacks should NOT allow themselves to still be characterized as inferior or somehow behind all other races (including Hispanics).  Let’s be clear — both parties can benefit from voter fraud, but only one party is dishonest enough to want to do so.  And also, let’s be clear…  Enforcing a strict Photo ID has been challenged as discriminatory and as an undue burden on blacks and on the very elderly. Again, the Supreme Court entertained that challenge in Crawford v. Marion County (2008), against Indiana’s strict photo ID Voter ID law. It held that a STRICT photo ID requirement to vote does NOT amount to an unnecessary burden on anyone’s right to vote. Both a liberal justice and a conservative justice wrote opinions to that effect (yes there were two majority opinions!). In North Carolina, the challenge to our Voter ID law back in 2015-2016 was that it was discriminatory against blacks. The challenge was not that it burdened the elderly or that it burdened all minorities. (the review by the 4th Circuit was that it was intentionally discriminatory against blacks).  We have to stop falling for the NC NAACP and Democratic Party bullshit. We should all be horribly offended at Spearman’s words, just as a liberal college student is offended at hearing Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro.

Reverend Spearman and the NC NAACP like to point to President Grant and his “clear signature” on the 15th Amendment and his message to Congress as to the historic nature of the amendment, but they cherry-pick with his message. In that special message to Congress delivered by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 30, 1870 in honoring the passage of the 15th Amendment, he offered this encouragement:

“I call attention of the newly enfranchised race to the importance of their striving in every honorable manner to make themselves worthy of their new privilege. To the race more favored heretofore by our laws I would say, withhold no legal privilege of advancement to the new citizen. The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”

Most people would hope that groups like the NC NAACP would put politics of race aside, stop inferring that the racism of the Reconstruction era still lingers in the hearts of white people and that every act of government is intentionally designed to somehow disenfranchise or otherwise discrimination against blacks, and instead take their cue from President Grant – to empower blacks not to cling to a history of victimhood but rather to project empowerment and equality through education and intelligence.

 

References:

The NC NAACP Addresses the Voter ID Law, November 26, 2018 at the NC State Capital in Raleigh –  https://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/18023119/

NAACP Outlines of Voter ID Protest –  https://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/17996798/

Opinion, US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (upholding the 2013 NC Voter ID law) –  http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/sites/ncmd/files/opinions/13cv658moo_0.pdf

Opinion, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (reversing the District Court opinion and striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law) –  http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf

Opinion, US Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, 553 U.S. 181 (2008) –  Opinion by Justice Stevens –  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-21.ZO.html

Opinion by Justice Scalia –  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-21.ZC.html

VIDEO:  Ami Horowitz “How White Liberals Really View Black Voters”  –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrBxZGWCdgs

Ulysses S. Grant’s Special Message to Congress, March 30, 1870 (after the passage of the 15th Amendment)  –  https://www.nps.gov/ulsg/learn/historyculture/grant-and-the-15th-amendment.htm

Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. __ (2013) –  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-96

Jay Delancy, “The Voter Fraud Too Many Deny,” US News & Observer, February 18, 2016. Referenced at: https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article61140462.html

Jay Delancy, “The Voter Integrity Project (VIP) Issues Response to Draft NC Voter ID Bill (v 0.9),” November 27, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://voterintegrityproject.com/draft-voter-id/ (or  https://voterintegrityproject.com/draft-voter-id/?fbclid=IwAR1SAo_s5tVW-QV5oEFO9Frf5AAXU6FhgZz7Z4N3pSRWCitLXXVyxfhtKGM

Aaron Bandler, “5 Statistics That Show Voter ID is Not Racist,” Dailywire, August 2, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://www.dailywire.com/news/7992/5-statistics-show-voter-id-not-racist-aaron-bandler

NC’s draft Voter – Photo ID Law (S.824), “Implementation of the Constitutional Amendment Requiring a Photographic Identification to Vote” –

https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/PDF/S824v2.pdf

Voting Rights Act of 1965 –  https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=100&page=transcript

Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Contracting Group, “Supreme Court Strikes down Voting Rights Act’s ‘Preclearance’ Formula,” Ballard Spahr, June 27, 2013.  Referenced at:  https://www.ballardspahr.com/alertspublications/legalalerts/2013-06-27-supreme-court-strikes-down-voting-rights-acts-preclearance-formula.aspx

Thomas J. Espenshade, Chang Y. Chung, and Joan L. Walling, (December 2004), “Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities,” Social Science Quarterly, December 2004. Referenced at: http://www.princeton.edu/~tje/files/Admission%20Preferences%20Espenshade%20Chung%20Walling%20Dec%202004.pdf    [OR accessible from Wiley Online Library, 85 (5): 1422–46].

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Can NC Enforce its Voter ID Law? What are its Options in Light of the Politically-Motivated 4th Circuit Decision?

voter-id-some-restrictions-may-apply     by Diane Rufino, Oct. 7, 2016

Elections and the Collusion of Corruption: The Engineering of Political and Government Tyranny. Its tools are voter fraud and massive collusion of political power.

INTRODUCTION –

The current generation of Americans is a sad generation. An unfortunate generation. They are far removed from the days when the country struggled with its rich heritage – a heritage forged in England with the 600-year struggle for independence from an over-bearing King. When an overbearing King George III and British Parliament evidenced a similar design to oppress the colonies and deny its people the rights and liberties that had been asserted time and time, the colonies revolted, took up arms, and fought successfully for their independence. The promise of a new land truly dedicated to individual liberty together with a long history strongly suggesting that such liberty is always short-lived, motivated our Founding Fathers to do something extraordinary. They drafted a form of government to overcome the limitations and shortfalls of Great Britain and in that system, they embedded many levels of checks and balances.

One of those checks and balances is the doctrine of Separation of Powers, a doctrine articulated by Montesquieu in his book The Spirit of Laws (L’esprit des Lois”), in which he explains society’s need for government and the need for protections in that government to prevent abuse. The Separation of Powers doctrine is based on the natural tendency of government to concentrate power; the concentration of all political power – legislative, executive, judicial – in the hands of one man, a few men, or even a government entity is total tyranny. Such a man, group of men, or government entity with such a monopoly over the scope of government power is the most dangerous of all. One only needs to look at Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin, and other totalitarian rulers. Now, if government power is divided among its branches with the understanding that each branch will jealously guard its sphere of power, then power should remain separated and contained. After all, one branch that tries to assume more power has to misappropriate it from another branch. This doctrine is most powerful when there is a Constitution which legally limits power to all branches, which supposedly is what our system provides. The caveat is and what has always been is that the Constitution must be respected.

The second check and balance is the most powerful of all in our American system – our system of Federalism. Our Founders divided government power between two powerful governing entities (sovereigns) – the States (considered to be the most powerful on most objects of government) and the federal government (only powerful on the limited areas listed in the US Constitution). What makes this design element so unique and so essential to the maintenance of a limited government is that it uses each powerful sovereign to keep the other in check. Sovereign against Sovereign; Titan against Titan (to invoke an analogy in Greek mythology). Again, each sovereign is supreme over its area of responsibility. The belief was that each sovereign (each Titan) would forever jealously guard its sphere of responsibility. The government’s powers are expressly delegated in the Constitution. All other areas are reserved to the states, as the American people were promised first in the Articles of Confederation (Section II, immediately following the declaration that the name of the new American Union would be the United States of America, which was Section I) and currently in the Tenth Amendment. The US Constitution has never been amended to take any of the States’ reserved powers away from them, including during and after the infamous War of Northern Aggression. For clarity on the States’ reserved powers, one needs only to look at Federalist No. 45, written by James Madison, the author of the Constitution and the man who attended every day of the Constitutional Convention, documenting the discussions and debates and capturing the collective understanding of the terms and provisions of the document as understood by all of the States (through their delegates) at that historic gathering. Federalist No. 45 goes into detail about the general character of this separation of sovereign power. Federalism is the last in our government’s series of Checks and Balances. (Maybe most important!)

The checks and balances were always intended to limit government and prevent the type of government abuse that has eroded a free society in the societies of the past. The more limited a government is, the greater its people can exercise their rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

Checks and balances, to put it another way, were included in our form of government in order to prevent a monopoly over the meaning, purpose, and scope of government.

Going back to my first paragraph, our current generation is far removed from the struggles to prevent the government itself – just the powers in Washington DC – from consolidating its powers in order to affect such a monopoly. The monopoly was actually perfected the year the Supreme Court decided for itself that its branch had far more power than originally granted in Article III of the US Constitution. That was the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803). Its implications were noted by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and others and warnings went out. True and honest students of history, government, and law know of these warnings, and appreciate them. But while the federal monopoly had been established, it was not clear whether or how it would be used to grow the government in DC. The biggest fear, as most realized at the time, was the government monopoly’s unique ability to destroy federalism, the critical design feature of our American government. It was only in very recent years that the tyranny threatened by this monopoly has finally become a reality. Because our current generation was not lucky enough to enjoy the freedom that many of us enjoyed many years ago, they cannot recognize what is becoming of their lives and their existence in the United States. They don’t know what has already been lost and they have no idea of what they will continue to lose.

Encroachments on State governing power began with the Lincoln administration (with his many violations of the Constitution and then with his decision to deny them their sovereign right of self-determination with secession) and continued in the years following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The federal government, after first declaring that they never seceded because they never had the right to do so and hence were merely “rebellious states” which were still part of the Union, then suddenly announced that they had to “re-apply” to become part of the Union again. The government first put them under military rule and then required that every Southern state meet certain punishing requirements in order to be “admitted back into the Union,” including submitting new state constitutions (asserting that they have given up their right to secede, that their primary allegiance is to the federal government and its laws, and that they adopt both the 13th and 14th amendments. Should any Southern state not meet these conditions, they would continue to live under the laws of a Congress that included only northern representatives and no representatives of that states. In other words, they would be subject to the most extreme form of tyranny. “No taxation without representation” would be nothing compared to the existence the Southern states would have to endure. And so, defeated and humiliated, dominated and subjugated, the Southern states complied. The federal government would fundamentally change its position vis-à-vis the States and sadly, with respect to the American people themselves. Many historians would declare that the government, transformed as a result of Lincoln’s total consumption of government power and continued during Reconstruction, became an illegal, illegitimate government at that moment. Many historians would also point out that the 14th amendment was not legally proposed and ratified by the States, as required by the very terms of Article V of the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment would be the great tool used by the federal government, and particularly by the Supreme Court and progressives, to strip power from the States and greater perfect the monopoly of power in the federal government.

The stripping of sovereign power from the States and the further erosion of federalism (ie, the further consolidation of power in the federal government) would continue at the turn of the 20th century and then into the years we fought WWII. 1913 was a bad year for States’ rights (the 17th amendment took selection of Senators from the States as political entities with sovereign interests) and for the right of individuals over their earnings and investments (the federal income tax was enacted: the 16th amendment). It was, however, a great year for government, first for the power to plunder the wealth of its citizens (16th amendment) and for the power to control the value of money and to print it at will (the creation of the Federal Reserve).

During the 1960’s, there was another great assault on the States with the government declaring that schools and other public entities are forbidden to allow prayer in their functions. Religion must be stripped from the public domain and States are powerless to protect such an exercise. And during the 1970’s, the government asserted itself in the public school building by requiring that school districts be intentionally designed and created to meet racial quotas. The government ushered in the era of busing.

Through its laws – namely the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and in particular, certain provisions of each (such as Title 4 and Title 5 of the Voting Rights Act), the federal government continues to demand that the States (the Southern states and some districts of other states) forfeit their sovereign rights over traditional and historically-recognized state matters (ie, “tenth amendment reserved powers”) so that the government can weigh in on them and then tell the States what it will “allow them to do.”

This past week, thanks to WikiLeaks, we have learned the extent of the Democratic Party’s connections to the US Justice Department and to the massive liberal media. We have seen where the moderators in charge of the presidential debates, including the debates during the primary season, have been instructed closely by the Democratic Party machinery as to what questions to ask the GOP candidates and then Trump in particular. We have seen the inherent bias in those debates. We have seen the even more dubious bias in the media, which everyone knows influences the voters who have little interest or time in doing research for themselves. We have seen how the Party has given assurances to Wall Street and foreign leaders/ foreign entities to pursue certain policies advantageous to them while deceiving the American people that just the opposite will be done. We can only imagine where our tax dollars and our valuable resources will be diverted to and for what purposes. We have read emails which show that a certain Democratic presidential candidate has been given a “pass” by the US Department of Justice, for one, by not performing a proper investigation, as would be required of anyone else who breached national security protocol. We have seen that the Democratic Party and its associates have control over the ballot systems which will be used by most precincts in the US.

What these revelations show is that there is a massive COLLUSION OF CORRUPTION which one goal in mind – to dupe the American people and to ensure that a political party gains control of the White House. We all know that Hillary Clinton is not qualified to lead the country – her experience, her track record of accomplishment, and her judgement are all far too flawed and deficient and therefore prove so. But the party itself needs to control the White House. It needs to control government and to continue implementing its plans for this country.

What this actually means for you and I is that this Collusion of Corruption is divesting us of our rightful voice in government. Our very democracy is being undermined and eroded. Our rightful place in the grand scheme of our government structure is being diminished and minimized right before our eyes.

We are witnessing the engineering of political and government tyranny. The government monopoly that has been instituted for government purposes, and which has consistently and steadily worked in favor of growing the federal government and its power (the cornerstone of Democratic policy), apparently is no longer strong enough or effective enough for the political elitist class. We are witnessing something very alarming and serious: When the Democratic Party’s (Progressives’) interests are threatened by a growing popular movement, it is willing to engage in massive collusion and corruption to neutralize that movement. It will do anything to ensure that its interests remain paramount and that government works for its own interests rather than for the benefit of the States and for the good of the American people – the purposes it was established for. In the past, Democrats and progressives doggedly pursued their goals of government power, challenging the nature of the Constitution and appointing judges and justices to erode that foundational document in order to strengthen the government monopoly in their favor. That system is alive and working fastidiously, like termites on a pillar of wood. And as it erodes our Constitution and its guarantees of limited government and essential rights, the people have taken notice. And they are reacting and rebelling – politically. It is this political unrest, this push-back against the government, which has prompted the Democratic Party to come up with new tactics. It appears that its modern-day tools are voter fraud and massive collusion of political power.

As we have seen members in government, including members of the Republican Party, a party ideologically entrusted to counter the designs of the Democrats, side with this party of dubious tactics, we can only conclude that government, and its committed agents, have designs of their own, independent and distinct from the interests and concerns of the average American citizen.

THE ISSUE –

In 2013, the NC General Assembly duly and rightfully enacted a common-sense Voter ID law. Its primary purpose was to cut down on voter fraud and to ensure the integrity of the voting process. Voter confidence and election integrity had eroded terribly over the past few election cycles. Opportunities for voter fraud were being identified by the Democratic Party (community organizing tactics and tactics of the Democratic-controlled unions) and actual instances of such were being documented not only in North Carolina, Illinois (who can forget the 1960 election!), Florida (which refused to prosecute the perpetrators), and Indiana, but all over the United States as well (see Ohio, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, etc). Despite the interests of the people and the state legislature of North Carolina in ensuring that the voting process in North Carolina is transparent, accountable, and free from illegal voting schemes, the US Federal Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (a branch of the federal government; a liberal/progressive fringe element of the federal government), decided to disregard the wisdom of a state legislature and to substitute its judgement for both the people and their duly-enacted government and strike down the Voter ID almost in its entirety.

We know the Constitution protects an individual from discrimination in the exercise of his or her right to vote, and we know that the Constitution demands Equal Protection, so doesn’t this beg the conclusion that the Constitution also requires that common-sense procedures be allowed to be in place (including the right to have a voter prove his or her identity and residence) to ensure that no one’s vote is diluted through this very essential democratic process? After all, if there is one constitutional bright line rule that stands out above all else regarding an individual’s right to vote, it is this: One Person, One Vote. In other words, a person is entitled to have his or her vote count fully and completely, without dilution. Where does dilution come from? It comes from a process where someone’s vote is counted more than others.

So, in light of this decision by the 4th Circuit and with massive fraud and collusion evidenced and confirmed, both working against the American voter, and with the outcome of an election so critically at stake, what can the battleground state of North Carolina do?

The greater question, of course, is what WILL it do?

THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION –

On Wednesday, August 31, the US Supreme Court rejected a last-effort move by Governor Pat McCrory to ensure that our Voter ID law will be in effect on November 8 for the presidential election to reduce likely efforts by the Democratic Party machine (and the Clinton Crime Syndicate) to vote illegally and to cast doubt on and make a mockery of the election process here in North Carolina. The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit handed down an OPINION at the end of July declaring our Voter ID law unconstitutional because it “intentionally discriminates” against African-Americans.” In a split 4-4 decision, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the state of North Carolina to that preposterous opinion by the 4th Circuit. Because the Supreme Court will not take up the case (which, according to the very words of the Constitution, it was SUPPOSED to hear), the decision of the 4th Circuit is supposed to stand. At least that’s what the federal government would have you believe, and would have the States believe. Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution reads: “In all cases where a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court SHALL have original jurisdiction.” Shall = Must. To be sure, the challenge to the Voter ID law was directed at “The State of North Carolina.” In other words, the case NEVER should have been heard in any of the inferior courts – the federal district court OR the 4th Circuit. The ONLY federal court which can hear the case is the US Supreme Court. And since it appears that the Supreme Court has no interest in taking up this particular issue or has no interest in taking up another Voter ID law (it already ruled in 2008 that a strict Photo ID requirement was not an unreasonable burden for ANYONE on their right to vote or their exercise thereof), it would make sense that IF the Constitution was adhered to, North Carolina would have its Voter ID law intact for this upcoming election.

First of all, let’s be clear: the federal courts don’t issue DECISIONS; they issue OPINIONS. On the top of their “judicial decision” is written the words “THE OPINION OR THE COURT.” We have to ask ourselves a very hard question: Do we honestly believe that men (in the case of the Courts of Appeal, it only takes 2 justices out of a panel of 3) should have the full power to make decisions interpreting our Constitution and deciding matters that redistribute power from one rightful party to another? If, when such decisions threaten, burden, or destroy the rights of a State or the rights of the individual, what is the rightful recourse? Is the rightful response to cower, give in, surrender? Or is the rightful response – the American response – to side with traditional American principles of liberty, essential rights, federalism, limited government, the rights of the individual? Is it unconstitutional to ignore abusive judicial “opinions” or is it a proper exercise of civil disobedience and a proper exercise of State sovereignty (under the Tenth Amendment)?

A State must always keep in mind its critical position in the grand scheme of our government system. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Relying on this very public and very historic document in the design of our common government, our Founders provided several procedural safeguards to secure these essential principles. One of those procedural safeguards – and the most important one for sure – was the division of government power between the States and the federal government. To ensure that the federal government continues to secure the rights of individuals and does not abuse, oppress, or burden them in any way in their exercise of essential liberties, and to ensure that it remains centered on its legitimate objects of governance, the States are supposed to stand up in opposition on every infraction of the federal government. This is a principle of government that supersedes the terms of the Constitution. Implied in the Constitution ratified and adopted by the States is the power of those parties to see that it is enforced.

And so, with a duty expected of it, but a history of subjugation, what should the state of North Carolina do?

It is this citizen’s opinion that North Carolina should do one of seven things: (1) Call the state legislature into an emergency session the week before early voting begins and pass another Voter ID law (making minor changes but still keeping the spirit of the law intact – requiring reliable identification to vote); (2) Ignore the opinion of the 4th Circuit, asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal (just as the federal district court lacked jurisdiction to hear it), citing Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution as legal authority; (3) Ignore the OPINION of the 4th Circuit citing just that… it is only an opinion” and the state, in its equal ability to interpret the Constitution, does not agree; (4) Claim that the opinion directly calls each of the state legislators a “racist,” defames them as individuals and as a political and must be rejected as libelous and therefore illegal; (5) Claim that the opinion offends traditional notions of States Rights and under the Tenth Amendment, the state has the right and duty to defend its sphere of legitimate governing power, which includes common-sense voting laws; (6) Claim that the opinion is a clear violation of the Separation of Powers because the Court went out of its way to substitute its judicial opinion for the legislature’s rightful opinion as lawmakers and therefore illegitimate and unenforceable; or (7) Governor Pat McCrory should issue an Executive Order to all Boards of Election instructing them that a reliable identification is REQUIRED of all persons who show up to vote (and whoever cannot produce one must then-and-there, sign an affidavit and submit to having his or her photo taken). In the Appendix, I have attached a sample Executive Order.

BACKGROUND –

While we are bustling about living our lives – going about our laborious days working (one-third of the time to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s), raising our children, putting them through college, caring for loved ones, taking care of our property – we had hoped that the Constitution would stand, immovable, impenetrable, unshakable, and steadfast for the rights and the principles that over a million Americans sacrificed their lives for. That’s what a constitution is – it is a fixed and permanent rulebook for the government as well as a documented grant of assurance that We the People will be able to live our lives without much government interference. Within only a few years after the Constitution was ratified and the new Union was formed, this was how the Supreme Court understood its significance:

In America, every State in the Union has its constitution reduced to written exactitude and precision. The federal government as well. What is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental laws are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land; it is paramount to the power of the Legislature, and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it. The life-giving principle and the death-doing stroke must proceed from the same hand. What are Legislatures? Creatures of the Constitution; they owe their existence to the Constitution: they derive their powers from the Constitution: It is their commission; and, therefore, all their acts must be conformable to it, or else they will be void. The Constitution is the work or will of the People themselves, in their original, sovereign, and unlimited capacity. Law is the work or will of the Legislature in their derivative and subordinate capacity. The one is the work of the Creator, and the other of the Creature. The Constitution fixes limits to the exercise of legislative authority, and prescribes the orbit within which it must move. In short, gentlemen, the Constitution is the sun of the political system, around which all Legislative, Executive and Judicial bodies must revolve. Whatever may be the case in other countries, yet in this there can be no doubt, that every act of the Legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, as absolutely void….. [Vanhorne’s Lessee v. Dorance(1795)]

The Law of the Land is the Constitution of the United States. And this Constitution of ours has a fixed and permanent meaning. All a justice or a judge has to do is consult those original authorities. (But they rarely ever do so, if ever). The meaning is fixed in the Federalist Papers (which Thomas Jefferson called the “best commentary on the Constitution ever written”) and in the debates of the state ratifying conventions. The meaning and intent of the Constitution as understood by each of the States when they ratified it is the PROPER and LEGAL MEANING of the Constitution. Except for the amendment process, which is the only legal way to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution in order to reflect the changing demands of the people, there is no authority by the federal court system to re-interpret the Constitution from its original meaning. There is only one justice on the Supreme Court now who gets this (Justice Clarence Thomas). Maybe Justice Samuel Alito, another conservative, also understands this. We once thought that Chief Justice John Roberts was a conservative and would abide by this principle. All the others are progressive and believe the Constitution is a piece of wax, to be molded by the times, the circumstances, the exigencies of government, and the changing norms. They believe the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” which means it has no fixed meaning and hence can be altered and re-interpreted at the bench.

Indeed, the Law of the Land is the Constitution of the United States… a document written simply enough for every American to understand for himself that it means. If it protects our essential rights and establishes a limited government, wouldn’t you expect that document to be easily understandable by the People? Otherwise, what good is it? If you always needed a lawyer or some other brainiac to read it to you and explain it to you, how can you ever be sure he is being truthful? And perhaps one of the greatest provisions in the Constitution is the Tenth Amendment. It is the great anchor – or as I like to call it, the “Lead Weight” – that restrains government. Government loves to cite the Supremacy Clause to bolster its laws and policies, but it never cites the Tenth Amendment. Both are equally dynamic provisions of the US Constitution; both define the scope and force of the government. The Supremacy Clause pushes against the States while the Tenth pushes against the federal government. While the government can rightfully claim as its supreme authority, the States can equally claim as ITS supreme authority.

So what DOES the Constitution say? The phrase “the right to vote” appears for the first time in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says that states shall lose congressional representation “when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in July 1868, has been criticized by several historians and students of the Constitution as having been unconstitutionally passed by Congress and illegitimately ratified by the federal government. In other words, it’s passage in Congress and adoption by the States did not meet constitutional requirements (as well as can be challenged under contract theories; coercion nullifies an agreement).

The section talks about the penalty for withholding the ballot but nowhere in the Constitution does it provide that every citizen necessarily has the right to vote. It is nowhere in the Bill of Rights. The Fifteenth Amendment, on the other hand, which was passed two years later in 1870, does speak specifically of “the right to vote.” The Fifteenth Amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

This particular phrase, “the right to vote of citizens of the United States,” appears again two more times, each connected with a protection from abridgement. The Nineteenth Amendment provides that the “right to vote of citizens of the United States” will not be abridged on account of gender (suffrage) and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment provides that the “right to vote of citizens of the United States” will not be abridged on account of age (18 years or older). With the amendments come a cause of action to be adjudicated and enforced by both courts and Congress. The fact that the Constitution had to ADD these amendments – to protect the “right” to vote from discrimination based on race, gender and age implies there is no explicit right to vote in the Constitution. Explicit rights, like those in the Bill of Rights, apply to all citizens regardless of any differences.

Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution provides for the “Times, Places, and Manner of Holding Elections for Senators and Representatives.” This provision allows for the popular election of senators and representatives. According to Section 4, the States have the power to prescribe such conditions (time, place, and manner), although Congress may, at any time, alter such regulations. In fact, Congress did so in 1945. By statute, it mandated a uniform date for presidential (3 U.S.C. § 1) and congressional (2 U.S.C. § 1 and 2 U.S.C. § 7) elections – the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Article I says nothing about the right to vote. Article I says nothing about early voting, Sunday voting, or any other extension of the period to cast a vote.

Article II, Section 1 provides for the election of Electors, which will be responsible for the selection of president. “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the State may be entitled to in the Congress….. The Electors shall meet in their respective States [and vote for President and Vice President].” Article II says nothing about Congress having any power to regulate the process of choosing electors, except that it may determine the time of choosing the Electors and the Day on which they must render their votes. The Constitution, however, says nothing about the right of citizens to vote for President. QUESTION: Does this mean that the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments’ protections of the right to vote apply only to the selection of senators and representatives? This is perhaps a question for another day and another article.

Looking at just the US Constitution, then, there would appear to be no fundamental right to vote thus requiring the government to scrutinize the process so intently. On the other hand, there is an explicit right to vote provided in virtually every state constitution. The exercise of the right to vote therefore a state matter. That is to say, states cannot deny citizens the right to vote, but they can regulate the process to address issues they believe are important. Voting laws are the rightful exercise of state government power. And this probably makes sense since it was understood from our Founders that there could be reasonable restrictions on the right to vote. In earlier days, the right to vote was limited to those who had property, for example. If the government could come after you and seize, tax, or regulate your property, then it was believed there should be “skin in the game.” There could be residency requirements and even reasonable literacy tests in order to make sure that a person had a modicum of understanding in order to vote. [The Supreme Court has continued to acknowledge that literacy tests in general are constitutional (under the States’ police powers), but Congress can prohibit them, under the Voting Rights Act, if they are used to intentionally discriminate against minorities]. The Supreme Court holds that under the Constitution, only the States have the right to set voter qualifications. In the grand scheme of things, the right to vote would seem to be a “privilege” – an incident of citizenship. Essential rights (historically-held individual rights) are those that are held to be inherent in one’s humanity. They are rights that do not come from government. That is why governments are prohibited from taking them away, and that is why the Declaration articulates that the primary role of government is to protect them for every individual. These are the liberty interests protected in the Bill of Rights. We see no restrictions like photo ID (upheld by the Supreme Court), literacy tests, residency requirements, etc on our rights of Speech, Press, our right to counsel, due process, etc. Privileges, on the other hand, are not inherent in our humanity but derive from society. Our society, in particular, is designed as a representative democracy which implies that individuals will select the representatives to government on their behalf. Unfortunately, it seems clear that the Constitution doesn’t embrace the notion that individuals have a say in the selection of president. And from Article I, it seems clear that States have the inherent right and power to regulate elections for Congress. As such, it would seem then that they have the right to regulate voting and elections in a neutral and reasonable manner for the “benefit of an ordered society” and to meet state interests.

With respect to Article I, the US Congress has not passed any law requiring an early voting period. It is up to each individual State. This is important in looking at our North Carolina Voter ID law and exactly WHAT citizens are entitled to when it comes to their right to vote and their exercise of that right. The States have historically enjoyed the power to regulate voting and regulate their elections as they see fit; it comes under their general Police Powers covered and protected by the Tenth Amendment. In fact, up until 1991, the election of president and members of Congress was essentially held on only one day – Election Day. My guess is that most state constitutions only guarantee one day of voting. North Carolina’s state constitution only guarantees one day of voting.

Many states have had some degree of early voting for a long time, and that “early voting” was typically allowing the casting of “absentee” votes in a county clerk’s office shortly before election day. But in the 1990’s, several states moved to adopt early voting in a significant way. Texas, which began to use early voting in selected elections and counties in the late 1980’s, expanded its use in the 1990’s. Oklahoma adopted early voting in 1991 and Tennessee, New Mexico, and Nevada in 1994. A number of states adopted early voting after the 2000 election and have continued the practice in subsequent elections. Among them are Arkansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia, which have high rates of early voting and low rates of absentee voting, and Florida, which has high rates of both. Texas and Tennessee have the highest rates of early voting. Along with Nevada, they reported over 40% in 2004. Arkansas, New Mexico, and North Carolina reported over 25 percent and Florida and Colorado almost 20%. A number of states, including Illinois and Maryland, enacted legislation to allow early voting in 2006.

While States have noted the benefits of Early Voting (enlarging access to the ballot box and making it easier for certain folks to vote), some have noted the drawbacks – the greater opportunity for fraud. Since the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, paranoia about the integrity of the U.S. election system has increased. A Pew Research Center survey found that 48% of Americans were confident that “the votes across the country were accurately counted” in the 2004 election. In subsequent elections, confidence would be further eroded. Indeed, after the 2012 election, only 31% of Americans nationwide had confidence in the process. 69% felt the process was corrupted and the outcomes not necessarily trustworthy. There was a perception that people were not taking the process seriously. There was a fear of votes being stolen or being rendered meaningless because of voter fraud. Even if evidence of actual ballot tampering and voter fraud was not made public, the fear was still there.

It wasn’t just the States that were concerned about fraud. In 2005, the Commission on Federal Election Reform (aka the Carter-Baker Commission) made a bipartisan recommendation for voter identification at the polls because of the growing lack of confidence in integrity of the voting process. Even the government acknowledged a legitimate state interest in ensuring and protecting the integrity in the voting process.

Ever since Americans have lost faith in the integrity of the election process and the honesty of the voting process, voter identification has become an important provision in most state voting laws. Many states have opted for some form of photo ID provision, although some states have included other forms of identification that will serve as well. In these laws, there are procedures for when a voter does not have identification: If a voter fails to show the ID that is asked for by law, states provide alternatives and these alternatives fit into two categories – non-strict and strict.

Voter ID laws that are “non-strict” provide at least some voters who lack acceptable identification when they show up to vote to have an opportunity to cast a ballot that will be counted without further action on the part of the voter. For instance, a voter may sign an affidavit of identity, or poll workers may be permitted to vouch for the voter. In some of the “non-strict” states (Colorado, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont), voters who do not show required identification may vote on a provisional ballot. After the close of Election Day, election officials will determine (via a signature check or other verification) whether the voter was eligible and registered, and therefore whether the provisional ballot should be counted. No action on the part of the voter is required. In New Hampshire, election officials will send a letter to anyone who signed a challenged voter affidavit because they did not show an ID, and these voters must return the mailing, confirming that they are indeed in residence as indicated on the affidavit.

With “strict” Voter ID laws, on the other hand, voters without acceptable identification must vote on a provisional ballot and also take additional steps after Election Day for it to be counted. For instance, the voter may be required to return to an election office within a few days after the election and present an acceptable ID to have the provisional ballot counted. If the voter does not come back to show ID, the provisional ballot is not counted.

While states wanted to enact laws to safeguard the integrity of the voting process, many were already walking a narrow line with the federal government on account of their history of past discrimination against African-Americans. They understood that if their laws were challenged, and challenged as being discriminatory, they would surely see them struck down under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The key provision of the Voting Rights Act – Title IV – identified nine Southern States along with specific districts in other states (including almost all of the districts in NC) as having a history of intentional discriminating against African-Americans and disenfranchising them in their right to vote. Consequently, these states and districts were required to submit their voting laws and voting practices, including voter ID laws, redistricting, and even the moving of polling locations with the US Justice Department for pre-clearance. In other words, if the US DOJ found that any voting law, redistricting plan, or movement of polling location evidenced a plan to discriminate against African-Americans, then the law or plan would be struck down under Title IV.

But in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Title IV in the case Shelby v. Holder as being outdated. In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts relied on data which showed that the US government was using outdated information, going back over 40 years, to continue to claim racial discrimination in those states. Roberts wrote that the system is based on “40-year-old facts that have no logical relationship to the present day.” He continued by writing that the government can no longer continue singling out certain states by relying on the past.

The Court argued that an extraordinary corrective is no longer needed when the problem ceases to exist.

In writing the decision, Chief Justice Roberts also relied on comparison data to show that when the Voting Rights Act was enacted, only 6% of African-Americans were registered to vote in Mississippi, a state noted for its civil rights violations. In the 2004 election, African-American voter registration was 76% in Mississippi, almost four percentage points higher than the white registration rate. In the 2012 election, Chief Justice Roberts wrote: “African-American voter turn-out exceeded white voter turn-out in five of the six states covered by the pre-clearance requirement.” With Title IV invalidated, the meat of the Voting Rights Act is gone. Title V is really meaningless without Title IV, and many lawyers believe that it will be struck down soon as well.

“The Selma of 1965 and the Selma of 2016 are very different places. When it comes to the franchise, this is in no small part because the Voting Rights Act did what it was supposed to do: namely, eliminate the scurrilous “tests and devices” (such as literacy tests) used to keep certain groups of voters from the ballot box. Liberals should be cheering the fact that we are no longer in need of the most aggressive provisions of the Voting Rights Act.” [“North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Should be Restored,” The National Review, 2016]

THE NC VOTER ID LAW –

In 2010, the North Carolina witnessed a historic election for its state government. For the first time since the 1800’s, the people of the state elected a Republican majority. One of the popular mandates of that election was that the newly-elected representatives would deliver on a promise to enact a common-sense Voter ID law to ensure voter integrity. For years, it appeared that the legislature was stalling on its promise.

What the legislature was doing was trying to draft a law that would survive Title IV scrutiny. It was consulting with attorneys to navigate the area of Voter ID laws and the Voting Rights Act.

But after the 2013 Shelby decision, the NC legislature decided to alter its earlier voter law to make it harder to commit voter fraud or to engage in any improper voting schemes. North Carolina took very seriously the constitutional standard of “One Person, One Vote.” And so, in 2013, the legislature enacted HB 589, the NC Voter ID law. It essentially altered the state’s earlier voting law by adding a photo ID requirement and five provisions which either restrict the early voting period or restrict registration. The law was considered a “strict” voter ID law.

Under the NC Voter ID law, every person voting in person must present a photo identification, except for a registered voter voting curbside (other options for identification are available) and for a registered voter who has a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed (that person must have filed a declaration with the local Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election]. The original law (2013) provided that any voter who did not comply with the photo ID requirement would be permitted to vote by provisional ballot but that vote would not count unless that person showed up in person at the Board of Elections office by noon on the day prior to the convening of the election canvassing with a valid ID. (The ID requirement would end up being softened, as will soon be explained).

Now, after the Shelby decision and after having lawyers review the language of its Voter ID law to make sure it passes constitutional muster, the NC legislators were pretty confident that they had enacted something that would bring honesty and integrity back to the state’s voting process. They had done their due diligence. A voter ID requirement in fact had been upheld by the US Supreme Court as a reasonable limitation on a person’s exercise of voting rights.

In 2005, Indiana passed a strict Voter ID law. It was the most restrictive voter law at the time. The strict photo identification requirement in order to cast a vote was challenged as being an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that challenge made its way to the Supreme Court in 2008. [Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, (2008)]. Civil rights groups (including ACORN), the Women’s League of Voters, and other groups filed amici briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ID requirement. After concluding that no voter would conceivably be precluded from voting under the law, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, finding it closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. He opined: “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons-e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate-is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”

Justice Scalia wrote separately in a concurring opinion: “The law should be upheld because the overall burden is minimal and justified.” He went on to state that the Supreme Court should defer to state and local legislators and that the Supreme Court should not get involved in local election law cases, which would do nothing but encourage more litigation. “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class,” he wrote.

In addition to the challenge that the strict ID requirement was an unreasonable burden on the right to vote, civil rights groups alleged that the requirement benefited Republicans and harmed Democrats at the ballot box (because Democrats include more poor people and minorities). Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, disregarded that argument and wrote: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.”

What exactly does the Indiana Voter ID law require of each voter when he or she shows up to vote? This is important because according to the Supreme Court, the ID requirement is NOT an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote. The Supreme Court did not say it was not an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote for a WHITE person. The Court held that the limitation was not an unreasonable limitation on any person’s right to vote.

Under the Indiana Voter ID law, voters MUST have a specific form of ID in order to vote. The ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:

• Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record

• Photo of the person to whom it was issued

• Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)

Voters in Indiana who are unable to or decline to produce such an identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if: (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason. [Indiana statute §3-5-2-40.5, 3-10-1-7.2 and 3-11-8-25.1]

It should be noted that Indiana is racked with voter fraud. Just last week, on October 6, a massive voter fraud scheme was discovered. Democrats and unions were found to be paying people to go vote in Illinois. [And Democrats, minorities, the US DOJ, and the federal courts still like to insist that voter fraud is imaginary and unsubstantiated].

In 2014-2015, the NC chapter of the NAACP, other civil rights groups, and the US Department of Justice challenged the NC Voter ID law (HB 589) as being discriminatory against African-Americans. The challengers alleged that the NC legislature (Republican majority) selectively chose voter-ID requirements, reduced the number of early-voting days, and changed registration procedures in ways meant to harm blacks, who overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party. The specific provisions that were challenged were:

(i) Photo ID

(ii) Elimination of the first week of Early Voting (cutting down the total number of early voting days from 16 to 10)

(iii) Elimination of one of the two Sunday voting days (“Souls to the Polls”)

(iv) Elimination of Same-day registration

(v) Elimination of provisional votes (including out-of-precinct votes)

(vi) Elimination of Pre-registration (permitting 16 and 17-yr-olds, when obtaining a driver’s license, to indicate their intent to vote)

In anticipation of the lawsuit and almost on the eve of the start of the trial (federal district court, Winston-Salem), the legislature met in session to quickly amend the strict ID requirement. The Voter ID bill was amended it to provide more relaxed options to those who show up to vote without a photo ID. Under the amended NC Voter ID law, voters who lack a photo ID (those who claim they cannot obtain one) would be able to cast a ballot after providing their birthdates, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and an affidavit stating that there is a “reasonable impediment” to their ability to present a photo ID. As a result of the “relaxed” ID requirement, the NC voter ID law was reclassified as a “non-strict” voter ID law.

The trial, which began in July 2015 and concluded in January 2016 (the provisions were addressed in two separate phases) vindicated the NC General Assembly. The federal district court upheld the provisions, including the relaxed photo ID requirement. Although Reverend Barber characterized the bill as a return to Jim Crow, Judge Schroeder did not agree. He sided with the position advanced by Governor Pat McCrory: “The history of North Carolina is not on trial here.” Judge Thomas Schroeder wrote: “There is significant, shameful past discrimination. In North Carolina’s recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there has been little official discrimination to consider.”

In upholding the NC Voter ID bill, Judge Schroeder wrote: “North Carolina has addressed legitimate state interests with its voter identification requirement and electoral system. The provisions of the bill are consistent with the mainstream of other states.”

Barber, the US Department of Justice, other civil rights groups, and other appellants quickly filed an appeal to the US District Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (which covers appeals from district courts in NC, SC, VA, MD, and WV, and is situated in Richmond, VA). They continued their racial claim against the NC legislature, alleging that by eliminating tools that make it easier for everyone to vote, they really did so to harm African-Americans in their ability to get out to vote since those tools particularly benefitted that minority group. This past July, the 4th Circuit reversed the decision of the lower federal court, sided with the civil rights groups, and struck down all the provisions that were challenged.

The Supreme Court, the highest federal court of the land, upheld a strict Photo ID law (strict photo ID requirement to vote) in Indiana, concluding that it was not an unreasonable limitation or burden on the right to vote. North Carolina’s Voter ID law, however, which is a “non-strict Photo ID” law, was struck down by the same federal court system. I don’t understand.

In fact, the federal courts are all over the place with respect to strict voter identification laws. (Which makes it very likely that the Supreme Court will have to agree to hear another such case). While the Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot single states out based on its prior history of discrimination, the federal courts are continuing to do just that. The official proclamations say one thing but in practice, the justices continue as if the Shelby decision was never handed down. For example, on March 23, 2015, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law. Wisconsin’s law absolutely requires that a photo identification be shown before a voter is allowed to cast a ballot. The law is now in effect. In 2011, Texas’ strict photo ID provision was struck down as violating the Voting Rights Act and Arkansas’s strict voter ID law was struck down as well.

DECISION OF THE 4th CIRCUIT —

The US Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals represent the federal appellate court system. There are 12 such Courts of Appeals to serve the 12 federal appellate jurisdictions (aka, 12 federal circuits). North Carolina is covered by 4th Circuit. Appellate courts do not hear a case in the first instance; that is, they are not the trial court and do not listen to or sift through the evidence. Instead, they hear a case on appeal, addressing errors of law (specifically, errors in the application of law to the facts). An appeal to a Circuit Court of Appeals is heard by a panel of 3 judges. And an opinion is issued by either 2 or 3 of those judges. That’s it. Agreement among 2 or 3 judges… that’s what constitutes a judicial “opinion” by the federal judiciary at the appellate level. In most instances, since the Supreme Court will only agree to review a very small fraction of their opinions, the opinion of this judicial “majority” will be the law of the land for the particular judicial district. I find this astounding and frankly, I find it disturbing and unacceptable.

While the district court heard the evidence and weighed the legitimate interests of the state versus the possible burden to African-American voters, and concluded that law was a reasonable exercise of legislative power and discretion and in fact, was consistent with other laws which have been upheld by higher courts. A different court, the 4th Circuit, concluded just the opposite. It completely dismissed the legitimate state interests (in addressing voter fraud), accused the legislature of using voter fraud as a mere pretext for intentionally targeting African-Americans and making it harder for them to get out and vote. Two different courts, two radically different conclusions. One listened to testimony and addressed the evidence first hand, the other did not. One was willing to defer to the wisdom and judgement of a legislature duly elected by the people of the state who, with their votes, sent a mandate for voter reform. The other was too willing to dismiss that wisdom and judgement and substitute its own.

What this sounds like to me is a case of different judges bringing different politics and different ideology to the bench and using them to guide their decision rather than simple rules of statutory and constitutional construction.

The opinion of the 4th Circuit, to say the very least, was a very disturbing one. In my opinion, in the 21st century, there is no place for an opinion as racially charged as this one. There has been absolutely no evidence that there is any de jure discrimination against African-Americans in the state of North Carolina to warrant such accusations.

Let’s consider just how insane the opinion of the 4th Circuit is. First of all, in writing the opinion for the court, Judge Motz concluded: “After years of preclearance [that would be Title V of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed to remedy the effects of Jim Crow and the poll taxes and literacy tests that were used in certain southern states to keep African-Americans away from the polls], by 2013 African-Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force. [The fact that an African-American was running for president was a major factor in energizing them to vote; this was not mentioned by the Court]. But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2103), eliminating pre-clearance obligations[striking down Title IV], a leader of the party that newly-dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African-American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an omnibus election law. [The Court was not correct here. The Republicans have dominated the legislature since 2008, when an election mandate sent a clear message that Democratic policies were no longer to be tolerated. Furthermore, the Republican Party has long been the political party that has enjoyed African-American support; in fact, from 1860-1964, the Republican Party has been the ONLY party to recognize and fight for the civil rights of African-Americans]. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African-Americans. In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. [The court did not consider voter fraud to be a legitimate justification and in fact, the trial court before it heard no evidence of the enormity of actual voter fraud here in our state]. Although the new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist. [Again, the court substituting its judgement and its knowledge of what goes on here in NC, not believing that voter fraud is a legitimate problem]. Thus, the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. In essence, the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.”

** Note that the opinion is in italics. MY comments are added in brackets and are highlighted.

The OPINION of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals states, in spirit and effect, that African-Americans are entitled to special guarantees when it comes to their exercise of the right to vote. It states that while restrictions and limitations are indeed allowable and even constitutional, and while they are not an unreasonable burden to white Americans or even to Hispanic Americans, they are not permissible for African-Americans. That is exactly what the decision states. By holding one race to lower standards of compliance, I would venture to say that the opinion is racist. And by implying that a State MUST hold that race to lower standards, it is forcing racism in its law-making. What the decision also states, and what I find also extremely disturbing, is that while the legislature has a legitimate and important state interest at hand and is willing to enact a neutral piece of legislation to address it, just because a group of justices can be convinced by a minority group that it was enacted with an intent to discriminate, the justices puts the opinion of the majority group over the legitimate interests of a state governing body. In other words, the justices can willy-nilly substitute their opinion for the collective decision of a duly-enacted state legislature, vested with the right and authority to legislate on the very issue.

The court’s legal reasoning is not exactly sound. The notion that rolling back same-day registration or shortening early-voting periods is unconstitutional is absolutely absurd. Early voting began in 1988, and thirteen states still do not have it, while same-day registration is still not available in some three dozen states. Are all of these jurisdictions in violation of the Constitution? In North Carolina, citizens – ALL citizens – were only given one day to vote… Election Day until the late 1990’s. Was North Carolina violating the Constitution?

I find it interesting that as the 4th Circuit addressed the photo ID provision of the NC Voter ID law, the judges ended up engaging in their own racial stereotyping of African-Americans. Actually, they merely endorsed the inherent racial stereotyping of Reverend Barber, the NC NAACP, other civil rights groups, and even the US Justice Department. It was the testimony of Justice Department officials who explained that “black voters would be hurt by North Carolina’s law” because they are “less sophisticated” than their white counterparts. There was no mention by these civil rights groups, or the US DOJ or the 4th Circuit, as to whether the “unsophistication” also prevents them from taking advantage of the provisions whereby the state provides a free ID to anyone who doesn’t already have one AND that citizens can still vote even without an ID if they sign a form at the polling place asserting that there was a “reasonable impediment” that kept them from getting the free ID.

Indiana’s ID requirement, stricter than North Carolina’s, was upheld as reasonable. And an almost identical ID law in South Carolina with the “reasonable impediment” exception was upheld as non-discriminatory by a three-judge federal court in 2013. Georgia’s Voter ID law was upheld in 2008 and a challenge to Indiana’s law failed. Without a doubt, there is strong and broad popular support for voter-ID laws (except by the Democratic establishment). A 2012 Washington Post poll recorded support among nearly two-thirds of blacks and Latinos. In June 2015, 76% of respondents, including 58% of self-identified Democrats, supported voter-ID laws.

Why does race continue to frustrate common-sense legislation?

As the National Review wrote: “The Fourth Circuit went out of its way to ignore evidence, impugn the motives of North Carolina’s legislature, and concoct specious legal rationales to forward a political agenda.”

Nowhere does the Constitution say that African-Americans are ENTITLED to a DIFFERENT set of standards, are ENTITLED to AN EXTRA WEEK of Early Voting, or are ENTITLED to SUNDAY VOTING. These are just SOME of the provisions of the NC Voter ID Law that the 4th Circuit held to be intentionally discriminatory against African-Americans. The 4th Circuit held that the Voter ID law evidences an INTENTIONAL DESIGN and an DISCRIMINATORY INTENT by the North Carolina legislature to deny African-Americans their right to vote, likening them to the Southern Democrats of the 1860’s thru the 1960’s who used poll taxes, literacy tests, scare tactics, and force to prevent African-Americans from voting. If I were the NC legislature, I would sue the 4th Circuit for slander and libel. The Voter ID law passed in Indiana was a “strict photo ID” law (stricter than North Carolina’s law) and it went before the Supreme Court in 2008. In an opinion authored by the most liberal member of the Court at the time, the Supreme Court found that a Photo ID requirement was NOT AN UNDUE BURDEN to ANY citizen. In fact, just a few years earlier, a federal government committee looking into the election process took a number of polls and found that only 31% of Americans had confidence in the integrity of the election process. In other words, 69% of Americans believed that our election process is corrupt and racked with fraud. With that finding, states began enacting voter ID laws, some requiring a photo ID. Indiana was one and so was Texas. it was this law that went to the Supreme Court. LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION – and I wish I could ask this directly to the judges of the 4th Circuit: If a strict Photo ID requirement (in Indiana’s Law) was found by a LIBERAL Supreme Court to be a permissible and constitutional condition on the exercise to vote and found NOT TO BE AN “UNREASONABLE” BURDEN on ANYONE, how is it that a lesser federal court can find that a photo ID requirement in NC’s law, which is not as strict as Indiana’s, is unconstitutional?? How is it that the LIBERAL Supreme Court can find that a strict Photo ID requirement (in Indiana’s Law) is a permissible and constitutional condition on one’s exercise to vote and is NOT an unreasonable burden on ANYONE but a lesser federal court can find that the photo ID requirement in NC’s law, which is not as strict as Indiana’s, is an unreasonable burden on AFRICAN-AMERICANS? No other minority group was found to be burdened.

All this talk is about what provisions African-Americans are specifically entitled in order to secure and protect their right to vote. But where is the talk about the security and protection of everyone’s vote against voter fraud? Shouldn’t a constitution that provides for “One Person, One Vote” also provide for protection of individuals in their right to vote from dilution due to voter fraud?

If there is a legitimate state interest that the law addresses, the mere fact that a minority group can show that it burdens them (which is questionable at most, and highly exaggerated at the very least) should not undermine and invalidate the fact that such an important interest is being served. After all, minority groups (and one in particular) will always claim special circumstances so as to frustrate common-sense laws and cry “discrimination” and most often so when it benefits the agenda of a political party. For many years, the Democratic Party has been able to brainwash this group of minorities into believing that it alone will address their concerns. Aside from enlarged welfare and entitlement programs and continuing to convince them that they are victimized by white society and discriminated against in every aspect of society, all of which, in sum total, leaves them believing that they are a disadvantaged class, the Democratic Party has done very little for these individuals. Most live in “comfortable poverty,” live in inner-cities or poor areas of town, find it increasingly difficult to find jobs (in part because they opt for welfare, choose to treat education lightly, have children outside of wedlock, or because the Democratic Party encourages open immigration of Hispanics who eagerly work but work jobs that take away most of the opportunities for African-Americans), and suffer from the effects of an ever-growing erosion of the black family. All these realities for the “disadvantaged” African-American have been created by years and years of Democratic law-making and policy-making.

This particular minority group alleges many reasons why it is different from other groups and other members of society… its members are poorer, less educated, have weaker family structure, poorer health, heavier and less able to move, less likely to have cars to get around, more illiterate, and the list goes on and on. With a list like that, how can any law not be disparately burdensome to them.

A photo ID is too burdensome for African-Americans, according to agents (judges) of the federal government. In fact, it rises to the level of outright discrimination. As the court explained, it’s just too hard for African-Americans to get the most common kind of photo ID – the one issued by the DMV. “African-Americans disproportionately lack the most common kind of photo ID… They are disproportionately likely to move, be poor, be less-educated, have less access to transportation, and experience poor health.” Yet it appears that in order to collect a check when you are poor and to pick up medication at the pharmacy, one needs a photo ID. At least, I’ve always been required to show an ID to cash a check, write a check, and to pick up medication for myself or any of my children. According to the court’s reasoning, the mere fact that such a requirement is included in a law, knowing that African-Americans are so lacking in several key areas of functionality in society, automatically makes that provision an act of intentional discrimination against them.

Hence, we’re back to two sets of standards; One set of provisions applies just fine to every person in the North Carolina, except African-Americans. And a different set of provisions applies to African-Americans. Hmmmm, sounds like we are back to Jim Crow, except that now it’s sponsored by the federal government. And while the first era was motivated by the Democrats and Southern Democrats believe that blacks are inherently inferior to whites and shouldn’t co-mingle, the current era is motivated by the government’s belief that blacks are less capable of doing for themselves and functioning in society at the same level as other races. It’s intentional racism either way.

So I guess it means that African-Americans don’t need a photo ID to collect a welfare check. That’s just too discriminatory. Let the rampant welfare fraud ensue. At that point, I will willfully withhold my federal income tax and encourage others to do so as well. Because I work hard for my paycheck, I at least make sure to spend my money carefully and take precautions against identify fraud. I guess African-Americans don’t need a photo ID to get a gun. That’s just too discriminatory. Already, too many guns are landing in the hands of African-Americans unlawfully. Nationally, blacks commit shootings at a rate of 11% more than whites. In New York City, blacks make up 23% of the population and whites makes up 33% of the population, yet blacks commit 75% of the shootings while whites commit only 3%. If blacks were represented at 33% of the population in NYC, like whites, then they would account for 107.6% of shootings. That would mean that in NYC, blacks commit 35 times as many shootings as whites. Across the East River from Manhattan (NYC), in Brooklyn, there are two neighboring communities. There is the predominantly black community of Brownsville and the predominantly white and Asian community of Bay Ridge. There are 81% more shootings in Brownsville than Bay Ridge. [Bill Whittle discusses the facts obscured by the Black Lives Matter movement –https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004657054354&fref=ts%5D

Can you imagine if we applied the same standard and same rationale to gun purchases as our courts are applying to the NC photo ID requirement in its Voter ID law – that is, that it is discriminatory to require blacks to show a photo ID when applying for and purchasing a gun? Would that be insanity? But you can’t hold one standard for voting and another for requiring a photo ID for the exercise of any other right or privilege of citizenship in the United States.

Again, a “strict” photo ID requirement was challenged in the Indiana Voter ID law as an undue burden and an unreasonable restriction on the right to vote and the US Supreme Court said NO IT’S NOT! The NC ID law, which is less stringent than the Indiana law and is more relaxed than the Indiana law when it comes to those persons who can’t get a photo ID was challenged as “Racist.” And because it was challenged as Racist rather than Burdensome, apparently the federal court used a different standard. What is “reasonable and not an undue burden” to all citizens in Indiana (including blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc), apparently is a burden only to African-Americans in North Carolina. It makes no sense at all. Truly, the term “racism” obscures the real meaning of the one term that blacks valued so much in the past — “Equal Protection.” Racism now is a term used to get “special” treatment and “special” protection. It’s a mockery of our Constitution and our laws.

The assertion that really enraged me in the opinion was when Judge Motz wrote: “The asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. In essence, the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.”

Judge Motz talked about intentional discrimination, but what he was really outraged about was the fact that the restrictions might (and no one actually believes it will happen) prevent African-Americans from turning out at the polls to support the Democratic Party. The panel was concerned that the Democratic Party might somehow be harmed by the Voter ID bill – not that African-Americans are somehow overly burdened by its provisions. That’s why the panel talked about the legislature in terms of a political party (“the party that newly-dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African-American support”) and then talked about African-Americans in terms of a political party (acknowledging that they don’t support the party that newly-dominates the legislature). Because politics is really the motivation behind the 4th Circuit’s opinion, and because the judges ignored legal precedent (the Crawford v. Marion County decision), the opinion should be ignored. Moreso, the Supreme Court should have noticed this error and agreed to reverse the decision. The part of the Crawford opinion I am referring to, of course, is this statement: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.” This statement was the joint opinion of both liberal and conservative members of the Supreme Court – Stevens, being a strong liberal, and Scalia, being a strong conservative.

The opinion of the 4th Circuit is extremely troubling for another reason, and I touched on it earlier. The federal judiciary – again, a branch of the federal government – is clearly attempting to influence and burden states (and particularly those who had discriminated against African-Americans in their right to vote many, many years ago and which, according to the Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder, 2013, were no longer to be prejudiced or bound by past discrimination in the eyes of government or the courts) by telling them that they MUST enlarge opportunities for African-Americans to exercise their right to vote. It is a very racial decision. Against the judgment of the Supreme Court, courts like the 4th Circuit appear to continue with the automatic presumption that the South continues to racially discriminate and that it is their job, and the job of the federal government, to sift through their laws, pull away the veil of equal-treatment, and find the embedded racism. And since when does the federal government have the authority to dictate how States should conduct their affairs under their traditional police powers (powers reserved under the Tenth Amendment)? Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has said the government cannot do so.

With the opinion by Judge Motz, we are left with the question, which is a very constitutional one: “What are voters actually entitled to when it comes to early voting and opportunities to register?” And what are African-Americans specifically entitled to, above and beyond what are offered to persons of other races?

The States and We the People ourselves must free ourselves from the mindset that federal judges have the absolute wisdom and integrity to declare what the law is and interpret what the Constitution means. Two or three ambitious, “politically-appointed” and “politically-motivated” judges do NOT authoritatively say what the law is. THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF DEFINES WHAT THE LAW. And judges and the federal government cannot twist, mis-interpret, re-interpret, or ignore what it says. States are sovereign equivalents to the federal government, if not superior. Indeed, in most aspects of law-making, they have reserved powers which are beyond the reach of the federal government and are to be respected by the federal government. Yet, the federal government has a monopoly over the meaning, intent, and scope of the US Constitution and the scope of its powers – the powers belonging to all branches. Nowhere in that monopoly are the States represented as sovereigns. As mentioned earlier, the 17th amendment changed the election of Senators andMarbury v. Madison perfected the federal monopoly by vesting unconstitutional powers with the Supreme Court over interpretation and enforcement. The federal judiciary looks out only for the federal government so let’s not pretend that it is an impartial arbiter or umpire for the States. The States have no such umpire or agent at the judicial level – the final leg of the federal monopoly.

Federalism is dead until and unless the States decide that the doctrine must be revived and is important enough to be revived.

FINAL THOUGHTS –

For several years, the South indeed engaged in efforts to prevent freed blacks from voting. And the South paid dearly for that history. Because of that history, the federal government and the courts, through legislation and judicial decisions, adopted an automatic presumption that such States were engaging in actual discrimination and discriminatory intent. The scrutiny seemed reasonable in light of the history of abuse. In our current time, there is no discrimination in the right to vote (and certainly no state is required to go above and beyond to give every conceivable opportunity to vote). But what there is is a history of voter fraud, dubious and illegal get-out-the-vote initiatives, and voting schemes that is almost exclusively associated with the Democratic Party. In the weighing of interests when it comes to elections and election/voting integrity, the real presumption that should guide voter laws, government policy, and federal court judges is the one tending towards fraud and dishonesty, and the undermining of the principle “One Person, One Vote.”

In fact, I would go one step further… Rather than a government commission merely advising that States adopt voter identification laws, the government should ENCOURAGE them to do so. And when they pass such laws, the state legislature should be given the presumption that they were passed to counter potential voter fraud. I liken the Democrats’ attempts over the many years (through political collusion, union activity, mob activity, and questionable community-organizing groups such as ACORN) to elude, evade, ignore the voting laws on the books of the United States and in the several states to the attempts of the Southern Democrats many years ago to disenfranchise blacks by attempts to frustrate school segregation. Just as the conduct of Southern Democrats evidenced a deeply-entrenched scheme to disenfranchise blacks and to frustrate the policy of segregation by the Supreme Court (Brown v. Board of Education) and HAD TO BE REMEDIED by policies of affirmative action, racial quotas, bussing, and court-mandated redistricting plans (lasting over 50 years), I would argue that the schemes of the Democratic Party over the past many years have also evidenced such a deeply-entrenched and organized scheme to break the law and to violate the cherished standard of “One Person, One Vote” for citizens of the United States (as articulated by the US Constitution) to actually REQUIRE such a presumption in Voter ID laws.

The reality is, despite the claims of the left, racism is a thing of the past and voter fraud is the new form of discrimination. This is not an allegation but a reality. The Supreme Court could not find any claim of merit that a photo identification burdens an African-American under when a voter law provides an alternative for those who cannot obtain one (as North Carolina’s law does, and as Indiana’s law, the strictest in the nation, does). Yet day after day, year after year, we learn about documented and prosecutable cases of voter fraud. Ask former GOP senator Norm Coleman, whose 725-vote lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken in 2010 turned into a 312-vote victory for Franken — thanks in part to 1,099 votes cast by ineligible felons. In 2015, Philadelphia election judges arrested four electoral judges for casting fraudulent votes. Fake signatures helped place Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Indiana’s primary ballot in 2008. Incidents such as these are why lawmakers in more than 30 states have now enacted laws to protect the integrity of their elections. John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election on account of voter fraud, for crying out loud! Have we forgotten that?

In the words of James O’Keefe, founder of the Veritas Project, “Democrats will do anything they possibly can to skirt and break the law until they are caught.” As his organization has proven time and time again, by going into Democrat-controlled polling locations and interfacing with Democratic “get out the vote” initiatives

This election cycle, we have a presidential candidate who is who using unprecedented tools in order to steal the election. She is using arrogance and intimidation, shady back-door deals, illegal slush-funds, and tactics of voter fraud. She has colluded with enforcement agencies at the highest levels of government to evade prosecution for her lawless conduct and is currently colluding with the vast left-wing conspiracy known as the liberal media to essentially conduct her campaign why demonizing her opponent. The media shares with the American people only what it wants them to hear (pro-Clinton) while suppressing what it doesn’t want them to hear (the truth).

The NC General Assembly merely anticipated the fraud that would accompany this extremely important presidential election and enacted a common-sense Voter ID bill – a bill that the overwhelming numbers of NC voters demanded of their representatives.

Democracy is our greatest strength. It gives us the opportunity to have government work FOR us and to alter it when it works AGAINST us. And the constitutional principle of ‘one person, one vote’ has always been a vehicle for Americans to hold their government accountable, and ensure it is responsive to the challenges we face as a nation.

To conclude, I’d like to remind the reader of the options that our Governor, Pat McCrory, and our state legislature can take to provide reasonable and common-sense measures at polling places next month. These options are bold, for sure. And each option will allow us to get around the decision of the 4th Circuit… the dictates of a group of three progressive judges. But what is at stake is the integrity and fairness of the voting process here in our state and our rightful expectation of such. The constitutional bright-line rule of “One Person, One Vote” cannot be undermined. We already know that we can expect voter fraud (and some predict an extensive amount of it) because of the fact that our state is a key battleground state. It would be unconscionable to surrender our electoral votes on account of fraud simply because three judges refused to reject the outdated presumption that NC discriminates against its African-American citizens. Again, the seven options I am suggesting include: (1) Call the state legislature into an emergency session the week before early voting begins and pass another Voter ID law (making minor changes but still keeping the spirit of the law intact – requiring reliable identification to vote); (2) Ignore the opinion of the 4th Circuit, asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal (just as the federal district court lacked jurisdiction to hear it), citing Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution as legal authority; (3) Ignore the OPINION of the 4th Circuit citing just that… it is only an opinion” and the state, in its equal ability to interpret the Constitution, does not agree; (4) Claim that the opinion directly calls each of the state legislators a “racist,” defames them as individuals and as a political and must be rejected as libelous and therefore illegal; (5) Claim that the opinion offends traditional notions of States Rights and under the Tenth Amendment, the state has the right and duty to defend its sphere of legitimate governing power, which includes common-sense voting laws; (6) Claim that the opinion is a clear violation of the Separation of Powers because the Court went out of its way to substitute its judicial opinion for the legislature’s rightful opinion as lawmakers and therefore illegitimate and unenforceable; or (7) Governor Pat McCrory should issue an Executive Order to all Boards of Election instructing them that a reliable identification is REQUIRED of all persons who show up to vote (and whoever cannot produce one must then-and-there, sign an affidavit and submit to having his or her photo taken).

References:

NC Voter ID Law (HB 589), passed April 2013 –http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/HTML/H589v7.html

NC Voter ID modifications (HB 836), passed June 2015 –http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/PDF/H836v6.pdf (see pp. 5-11). Provides relaxed impediments for persons who do not comply with the photo ID requirement of HB 589. Any person who does not have a photo identification will be permitted to vote a provisional ballot (to be counted according to GS 163-182.1A). A person also can fill out a reasonable impediment declaration and vote a provisional ballot (to be counted according to GS 163-182.1B).

Opinion of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (NAACP v. McCrory, 2016):http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/documents/Opinion72916.pdf

SilenceDoGood, Sept. 1, 2016.https://silencedogood2010.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/nc-can-enforce-its-voter-id-law/

Indiana Voter ID Law – http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2401.htm

Indiana Voter ID law, Indiana Government, Indiana Election Division –http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2401.htm

Voter Identification Requirements – Voter ID Laws, ACSL (American Conference of State Legislatures), August 31, 2016. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

Josh Siegel, “After Voter ID Defeats, Lessons From Indiana’s Law That ‘Has Stood Test of Time,’ The Daily Signal, August 7, 2016. Referenced at:http://dailysignal.com/2016/08/07/after-voter-id-defeats-lessons-from-indianas-law-that-has-stood-test-of-time/

Bill Whittle discusses the Myths perpetrated by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement –https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004657054354&fref=ts

Section 4 (Title IV) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 –https://www.justice.gov/crt/section-4-voting-rights-act

Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.justice.gov/crt/section-4-voting-rights-act

List of counties in North Carolina originally identified in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and subject to the preclearance requirements of Section 5 –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jurisdictions_subject_to_the_special_provisions_of_the_Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965

Section 5 (Title V) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.justice.gov/crt/about-section-5-voting-rights-act

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-21.pdf

John C. Fortier, “Absentee and Early Voting,” AEI Press, June 2014. Referenced at:https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/-absentee-and-early-voting_155531845547.pdf

“North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Should be Restored,” The National Review, August 9, 2016. Referenced at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438810/north-carolina-voter-id-law-should-be-restored

Massive Voter Fraud in NY – http://louderwithcrowder.com/voter-fraud-nyc-democratic-election-commissioner/

Voter Fraud (“Clinton Campaign: Whatever You Can Get Away With.. Just Do It!”) –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhI6bMbhsDE&feature=player_embedded

Voter Fraud Bombshell in NYC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4XK8DGeWgU

Clinton Staffer on Tape Discussing Voter Fraud – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=167TgR5_DY4

Clinton Voter Fraud in Florida – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To1dp40LAu8

Thousands of Fraudulent Voter Ballots Marked for Hillary Clinton –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8on9JJLoU8

Largest Voter Fraud Investigation in Texas – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjbgJ7hLLRY

Indiana Voter Fraud Scheme investigation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNtJn3BJbg4

Voter Fraud in NC (thousands voted more than once in 2012, voting in NC and in at least one other state) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pUxFoNlI04

Evidence of Voter Fraud (scheme to dump thousands of ballots pre-marked for Hillary Clinton) on Election Day – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkSg7DSkyjs

APPENDIX:

A. PROPOSED EXECUTIVE ORDER

[Drafted by Bart Goswick and referenced at: SilenceDoGood, Sept. 1, 2016.https://silencedogood2010.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/nc-can-enforce-its-voter-id-law/

Proposed Executive Order

From the Office of the Governor of the Great State of North Carolina – For Immediate Release

EXECUTIVE ORDER No. _____WHEREAS, the U.S. Constitution plainly states that the federal judiciary has certain limitations on what it can, and cannot do. Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 states that any case in which a ‘State’, or any of its ‘Public Ministers’ is a party, the Supreme Court shall have ‘ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.’

“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have ORIGINAL Jurisdiction.”

WHEREAS, The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has clearly overstepped their authority, henceforth the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and all related agencies, shall consider this opinion by the court, issued on July 29, 2016, to be Null & Void. [http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf]

WHEREAS, The North Carolina Constitution, Article III, Section 5, Clause 10 states;

“…the Governor may make such changes in the allocation of offices and agencies and in the allocation of those functions, powers, and duties as he considers necessary for efficient administration. If those changes affect existing law, they shall be set forth in executive orders, …”

NOW, THEREFORE, by the power vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and laws of North Carolina, IT IS ORDERED:

The Great State of North Carolina will proceed with our November 2016 general elections according to the provisions and procedures defined in SESSION LAW 2013-381, aka “Voter Information Verification Act” that I signed into law on August 12, 2013. [http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/HTML/H589v9.html]

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and affixed the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina at the Capitol in the City of Raleigh, this ___ day of _______ in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty.

B. COUNTIES (JURISDICTIONS) in NORTH CAROLINA ORIGINALLY IDENTIFIED in SECTION 4(b) of the VOTING RIGHTS ACT FOR THE PRECLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 5 –

(All of the following counties were identified in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, except as noted)
• Anson County
• Beaufort County
• Bertie County
• Bladen County
• Camden County
• Caswell County
• Chowan County
• Cleveland County
• Craven County
• Cumberland County
• Edgecombe County
• Franklin County
• Gaston County
• Gates County
• Granville County
• Greene County
• Guilford County
• Halifax County
• Harnett County
• Hertford County
• Hoke County
• Jackson County (added around 1984)
• Lee County
• Lenoir County
• Martin County
• Nash County
• Northampton County
• Onslow County
• Pasquotank County
• Perquimans County
• Person County
• Pitt County
• Robeson County
• Rockingham County
• Scotland County
• Union County
• Vance County
• Wake County (was bailed out around 1984, by court decision and hence no longer subject to the provision)
• Washington County
• Wayne County
• Wilson County

A Deliberate and Tragic Act of Racism

Dallas Shooting - victims

by Diane Rufino, July 9, 2016

In a deliberate and calculated act of racism, a black man ambushed and gunned down five Dallas police officers and injured seven more.  I watched on TV how the police community and concerned citizens responded. They honored each officer in a moving tribute that highlighted their life stories, the families they leave behind, their service to our country, and their acts of kindness in their communities. They came together to offer assistance to the families of the fallen officers, establishing funds to pay their mortgages and to send their children to college. They reminded everyone of the dangerous job that police officers willingly accept – serving and protecting their communities – and now, since the start of Black Lives Matter movement (“What do we want?  Dead cops.  When do we want them?  NOW!”), being innocent targets simply for wearing their uniform.  Did the community call for violence against the Black Lives Matter movement and its leaders?  Has it encouraged police officers to take aggressive and retaliatory action in their patrolling of their areas?  Has it suggested that police officers withdraw from black communities and let their violence consume them?

No.

The other side, however, responds with violence and aggression. They are completely predictable. When a member of the black community dies at the hands of police custody, which includes being stopped, subdued, transported, arrested, or incarcerated, the response is rioting, destruction, and violence.  They demand justice which always means that they want the other side to pay for what has been done, regardless of what transpired. At the center of almost all of the unfortunate incidents – and they are all unfortunate – we find a black man who had a gun and wouldn’t surrender it, who had broken the law, who threatened the officer with harm, or who was resisting the police (even though the police had probable cause to stop him).  Simply cooperating with the police would have prevented each of the deaths.

The responses from each side are strikingly different and they speak volumes.

Instead of the accusations against police and the insinuations of blatant racism, why aren’t we asking the more important questions:  Why are young black men walking around carrying guns?  Why are they breaking the law?  Where are their parents to teach them right from wrong?  Where are their parents to keep an eye on them and to know what they are up to?  And most importantly, why aren’t they teaching their children that when they are stopped by police, they must politely cooperate.  I believe that officers respond to guns, not race.

In his song “American Skin,” Bruce Springsteen writes:

“Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, “On these streets, Charles
You’ve got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite
And that you’ll never ever run away
Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

The song was inspired by an incident involving the New York City Police Department and a West African immigrant named Amadou Diallo in February 1999. Diallo exactly fit the profile of a rapist who committed several crimes in the Bronx area, and when police caught up with him in a stairwell, they instructed Diallo to show his hands.  Instead, he reached into his pockets. Police assumed he was going for a gun, but it turns out he was only reaching for his wallet.  But it was too late. Police shot him dead.  While the song is an indictment of the rush to judgement on the part of police, Springsteen acknowledges that “these streets” are not safe.  Police patrol areas that are not safe.  At the heart of the problem in this country at this present time is the fact that are our streets not safe.  And yes, certain areas (and I don’t need to spell it out) are much less safe than others. We have to be honest in solving that problem first and not be afraid to be politically incorrect, because yes, too many young black lives are being lost.  Let’s address that root cause first, and the other issues will fall away.

Sometimes when I watch the news, I can’t help but think that we are back in the tumultuous civil rights era.  But we not in the 1960’s.  It’s fifty years down the road.  That equates to 2-3 generations. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to the concerns of the black community when it comes to their history with police, but I’m tired of the dialogue that is so intentionally and overwhelmingly politically-sensationalized and one-sided. Government – all 4 branches (legislative, executive, judicial, and the media) – has got to stop with the political correctness and stop pandering to violence, and start acting responsibly.  We have a code of conduct in this country that transcends race, religion, and ethnicity and it’s called civility and the Rule of Law. We conduct ourselves within the boundaries of the law, we respect each other’s lives, liberty, and property, we respect each other as individuals, and we contribute in a positive way to our communities. We don’t harass one another, we don’t harm one another, we don’t intimidate one another, and we don’t make others feel unsafe.  Everywhere I go, I see signs reading “coexist.”  I imagine it stands for an organization or movement urging social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.  For my entire life, I have been taught this. Growing up in northern New Jersey, I never once thought that a person of a different color was any different than me or should be treated any differently. It just never entered my mind. Since the days when the country righted wrongs and passed the Civil Rights Acts, we have been reminded at every instance to live a colorblind life.  Our schools have taught it, our human resource departments give training sessions on it, our government has put laws and policies in place to ensure it, and courts have come up with remedies to mandate it. Yet when we watch the news, read the newspaper, and listen to our president and US Justice Department speak, you would think that racism is widespread in this country and most notably, is rampant and endemic in our police forces.

I have a good friend in town who happens to be a white police officer.  As he faithfully posts reports of all those officers across the country who have been killed or injured by those supporting the Black Lives Matters movement, he clearly fears for his safety and the safety of his officers. Nevertheless, he is the epitome of public service.  He says this fear will never prevent him from doing his job nor, as far as he believes, will prevent the others from doing the same.  My friend is assigned to what is called the West quadrant, which is the “black section” of town. The West quadrant is racked with violent crime – murders, random shootings, stabbings, drug crimes, and domestic assaults. Someone asked him if, in light of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, he wouldn’t be better off transferring to a different quadrant and perhaps having black officers cover the West quadrant.  His response was quick. He said he would never request a transfer and has every intention of remaining there. When asked why, he answered: “Because I am needed there.”  He said he didn’t enlist to protect just quiet, safe neighborhoods; he enlisted to keep everyone safe.

I believe most officers feel this way.  And sadly, the Black Lives Matter movement has been responsible for the senseless murders of exactly these types of officers.

In my adult life, I’ve seen only three acts of blatant, intentional racism.  In 2010, Black Panther leader King Samir Shabazz intimidated white voters at a polling location in Philadelphia and publicly advocated the killing of white babies. Last year, Dylann Roof, a young white man, opened fire in a black Methodist church in Charleston, killing nine. And then two days ago, July 7, a black man, Micah Johnson, set out with the express intention of killing as many white police officers as he could at a Black Lives Matter protest that was planned in Dallas.  He also supported or belonged to the New Black Panther movement which advocates violence against whites.  Ironically, all these events occurred during the time when our President was jumping to conclusions and crying racism at every instance a black man was mistreated or harmed by police. It began almost immediately after he assumed office.  In July 2009, when a black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was stopped by a white police officer for suspicious activity, President Obama jumped on the opportunity to lecture the country about racism.

In that incident, police received a call of a possible burglary; the woman was concerned that a man (no mention of race) appeared to be trying to break into a house in a respected Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood. A white officer, Sgt. Jams Crowley, was dispatched to the house and found Gates who had already opened the door.  Gates told the police it was his house and Crowley asked to see identification. Gates refused and instead, flew into a verbal rage and accused the officer of racial profiling. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. President Obama learned of the incident and before knowing the facts of the case, he felt he needed to make a public statement regarding Gates’ treatment.  To a country that had no idea of the incident, Obama said that Sgt. Crowley acted “stupidly.”  He went further and said this was an example of how vulnerable poor people and minorities are “to capricious forces like a rogue policeman.”  He continued: “This man clearly was a rogue policeman.”  Without knowing the facts, President Obama slandered Crowley’s good name to an entire country. As it turns out, Crowley was – is – a decorated officer, an expert on racial profiling, and an instructor on that subject for many years at the Lowell Police Academy.  The police commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department commented that his department was deeply maligned by Obama’s statement.

To an audience that is always on the look-out for instances of racism, Obama’s comments were just what they wanted to hear. Victimhood is a powerful aphrodisiac. Victimhood is a powerful position. Victimhood is big business.  The Gates incident was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2012, Trayvon Martin’s death ignited intense racial tension. When George Zimmerman was acquitted of his death, race riots occurred in Los Angeles, a place that knows them all too well (except when OJ Simpson was acquitted). With each incident, tensions grew stronger, culminating in a march in New York City in 2014, headed by race hustler Al Sharpton. The “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators called for the death of police officers, shouting: “What do we want? – Dead cops. When do we want them?  – Now!”  Not long after that, a black man stalked and killed two innocent white police officers in NYC in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner (which was a sad, tragic event, but clearly without any racial animus). Since 2014, it has been open season for killing police officers and the numbers have been adding up.

I blame the Obama administration for amplifying the voice of the Black Lives Matter movement and for eight long years, helping to fuel charges of racism in this country. The administration, at every chance, legitimized their claims and encouraged their militant responses. The administration is guilty of criminal solicitation – creating the atmosphere in this country that sadly led to this tragic shooting.

RACISM - ruins lives

[I use the terms “white” and “black” not in any derogatory way but merely as an emphasis to the racial divide that has overtaken our country, particularly with respect to law enforcement].

NULLIFICATION: The Power to Right Constitutional Wrongs

NULLIFICATION - John Greenleaf Whittier (Abolitionist and Nullifier)    by Diane Rufino, July 9, 2015

THOMAS JEFFERSON wondered how the country would respond in the case its government passed a law that was clearly unconstitutional. As Secretary of State under our first president, George Washington, he already witnessed the wheels of government try to enlarge provisions in the Constitution to give the administration unchecked powers to tax and spend. Washington would establish the first National Bank. Jefferson knew the trend would continue. And it did.  Our second president, John Adams, signed the Alien & Sedition Acts into law, which were laws addressing the Quasi War (undeclared) with France at the time. The French Revolution just killed off the monarch and his family and tensions flared up between the new French republic and its old rival, England. There was an influx of French immigrants and Americans were split in their support of the old French system or the new republic. Although the Alien Acts (3 of them) were offensive, it was the Sedition Act that was most glaringly so. The Sedition Act made it a crime (fines and jail sentences) should any person “write, print, utter, or publish, OR cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, OR assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States….”   The Constitutional red flags went up at once.  The immediate violations jumped out to men like Jefferson and Madison, and many others. While the Alien Acts violated the 10th Amendment and the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment, the Sedition Act was a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of Free Speech (most importantly, political speech!)  John Adams, a Federalist, saw nothing wrong with any of the laws.  Neither did his Federalist co-members of government or his Federalist judges.  Thomas Jefferson, the Vice President at the time (since he got the second highest votes in the election of 1796) wasn’t a Federalist. He was a Republican-Democrat (a party he founded).  [Notice that the Sedition Act protected everyone from slander EXCEPT the VP !!].  The Checks and Balances didn’t work. Political power was more important than the rights the government was created to protect!

And so, convictions quickly followed. Journalists, publishers, and even congressmen were fined and jailed. Not a single person targeted was a Federalist. The only ones targeted were Republicans.  The men who wrote our founding documents – Jefferson and Madison – began a series of correspondences to discuss what should be done to prevent such unconstitutional laws from being enforced on people who had a rightful expectation of exercising the liberties promised in the Declaration and in the Bill of Rights. (And of course they had to be very careful lest they be convicted under the law!)  Jefferson saw that there are 3 possible remedies when a government tries to enforce unconstitutional laws..  (1) Seek an opinion from the Judiciary;  (2) Secession; or  (3) Nullification.  Jefferson advised against the first two remedies.  He said the first was unpredictable and unreliable. He believed justices were men motivated by the same passions, political motivations, thirst for power and legacy, and opinions as politicians and could not be counted on to be impartial interpreters of the Constitution. He also realized that the judiciary was only one branch of government (the least powerful at the time), and although it would render an opinion, Congress and the President were not required to abide by its ruling. Furthermore, the courts were all Federalists at the time and were part of the problem!.  Jefferson said secession was certainly a legitimate option (after all, the Declaration itself was a secessionist document), but said it was far too extreme and every effort should be made to keep the union together in a workable fashion.  The third option, he said, was “the rightful remedy.”  Nullification, he said, was the remedy inherent in the states’ ratification of the Constitution, inherent in the doctrine of federalism, a remedy grounded in law itself, and the remedy that would allow hot tempers to cool and would prevent states from threatening to leave the Union.  Madison agreed.

Nullification is the doctrine which states that any law that is made without proper legal authority is immediately null and void and therefore unenforceable. Laws have to be enforced by officials – federal and state. When the government passes a law pursuant to its powers, it is supreme and binding. Every level of enforcement recognizes the law. States are obligated to uphold it and help enforce it.  An example are the federal immigration laws.  When the government passes a law that it has no authority to make – such as the Sedition Act, which offends the 1st Amendment which is a strict prohibition on the government with respect to individual speech (political speech) – then in terms of legality, the law is null and void.  For a government to try to enforce it would be an act of tyranny. (Tyranny is defined as a government that abuses its powers and enforces unpopular laws).  Since the law is null and void, no enforcement agency should force the law on the people. Government will never admit its law is unconstitutional or unenforceable and so it is up to the states and the communities (and their enforcement agencies) to prevent such law from being enforced.  The states are the rightful parties to stand up for the people against a tyrannical act of government. When the government assumes power to legislate that it was not granted in the Constitution, it usurps (or steals it) from its rightful depository, which are either the States or the People (see the 10th and the 9th Amendments).  Every party must always jealously guard its sphere of government; it’s bundle of rights.  States have their powers of government and people have their rights of self-government (ie, control over their own lives, thoughts, actions, and property). Again, if we look at the Sedition Act, the government under John Adams passed the law by attempting to steal the rights of free speech from the People.

Well, immediately, Jefferson and Madison got out their pens and drafted the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and of 1799 (Jefferson, for the Kentucky state legislature) and the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 (Madison, for the Virginia state legislature).  Both states passed them, declaring that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable in their states.  The Virginia Resolutions were especially forceful because they announced that the state of Virginia would take every step possible to prevent the enforcement of the laws on its people.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson wrote:

  1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799, he wrote:

RESOLVED, That this commonwealth considers the federal union, upon the terms and for the purposes specified in the late compact, as conducive to the liberty and happiness of the several states: That it does now unequivocally declare its attachment to the Union, and to that compact, agreeable to its obvious and real intention, and will be among the last to seek its dissolution: That if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence: That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that anullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy……

In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison wrote:

RESOLVED……. That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

The government hates the doctrine of Nullification and has used every opportunity to discredit it.  And it makes sense.  And doctrine that gives power to the States is offensive to the federal government. It makes them harder to control. We all know how angry the government gets when any state criticizes or attempts to frustrate the government’s laws, policies, and agenda.  Nullification, like secession, is a fundamental sovereign power reserved to each state. Since the states did not form the Union by unlimited submission to the common government they created, certain powers remain vested in them.  Despite what Lincoln and Obama may claim, the states did NOT create, or attempt to create, or even envision creating a “perpetual” Union by ratifying the Constitution.  Those words are merely wishful thinking by despots and revisionists.

NULLIFICATION - When Injustice Becomes Law, Nullification Becomes a Duty

The biggest tool the government has in its arsenal to shut down the discussion of Nullification is RACISM.  According to the government’s position – as evidenced in texts, government spokespersons, liberal pundits, college professors – Nullification is a racist doctrine that was used to help the states resist integration following Brown v. Board of Education (1953). For years, the southern states were demonized and punished by the northern states for the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression) and because the North was forcibly and quickly transforming their society, there were actions that would clearly be classified as “reactive” and “lashing out.” The North, as the victors of the war, had the benefit of writing history and telling the “official” story.  Nullification was used once in the south after the Brown decision. It was used by the governor and state legislature of Arkansas to prevent integration of the schools in the state (they amended the state constitution). They believed the decision was arbitrary and unconstitutional and believed the court had no power to enforce it. After all, approximately 1/5 of the entire membership of Congress signed a statement in 1956 pretty much declaring the same thing. They also feared what would happen given the level of hostility in the state. But Little Rock continued to move forward with its plan for desegregation. Eventually, in 1958, the Little Rock School Board filed suit asking for a court order allowing them to delay desegregation. They alleged that public hostility to desegregation and opposition created by the governor and the state legislature created an intolerable and chaotic situation. The relief the plaintiffs requested was for the African-American children to be returned to segregated schools and for the implementation of the desegregation plan to be postponed for two and a half years. The case went to the Supreme Court, which declared that no state had the right to ignore any of its decisions. Citing Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, the Court emphasized that its decisions are binding on all the states and that to ignore them is to “wage war on the Constitution.” In other words, opponents of nullification assert that this case stands for the premise that states cannot nullify federal laws.

Racism invites passion. It questions motives, clouds judgment, obscures facts, and shuts down debate. Racism assumes that no party has any grievance or concern more important than that of the African-American. It assumes there is no part of history more important than slavery, abolition, and Jim Crow.  Racism never dies, according to the government.  Racism never dies, according to the irresponsible media.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that our current government is fanning the flames once again in history of racism and making sure we are once again defined as a racist nation. In this time when Nullification should be the topic everyone wants to re-address, the countering argument will always be: “Look, they’re trying to go back to the days of segregation.”

And so, I wanted to write this to emphasize the REAL story of Nullification..  and the REAL success of Nullification.  It wasn’t in light of the Alien & Sedition Acts. It wasn’t the publication of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (because, let’s be honest, most of the other states were too timid to adopt similar resolutions and so the states, in the end, didn’t stand up to the government as Jefferson and Madison had hoped. There were probably 2 reasons for this: (1) The Acts were set to expire at the end of Adams’ term, which was only 2 years away so why get their panties in a wad; and  (2) the Union was extremely fragile at this point  – rebellions all over the place over the government’s authority to tax and collect – and the states didn’t want to exacerbate the situation.  The real success story of Nullification was in the rejection of the Constitution’s Fugitive Slave Laws.

Yes, the American flag, believe it or not, was the official flag of a slave nation for 77 years (1788 – 1865).  Slavery was protected in the United States by the Constitution for those years. Although slave importation had been abolished by the time the Constitution was ratified and the Union was created, the institution itself was still constitutional. Not only was it constitutional, but slaves, as property, were required (by the Constitution) to be returned to their owner. State agents, courts, and instrumentalities were required to enforce these federal laws.  But abolitionists in the North, like Rosa Parks herself sitting on a seat in a public bus, knew that the laws were revolting and fundamentally wrong.  Through civil acts of disobedience, like Ms. Parks refusing to give up her seat, those in states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, either outright enacted laws which nullified Fugitive Slave Laws or they acted to frustrate or otherwise render useless any attempt to enforce them. Nullification was a very successful way for escaped slaves to finally realize freedom in the North. It’s pretty hard to claim Nullification is racist, like its opponents do, when it served such a public good (while the US Constitution protected something so evil).   The following video does an amazing job to educate people on the history of Nullification and to explain its power to right wrong.

https://www.facebook.com/tenthamendmentcenter/videos/10152871564545764/?fref=nf  (from the Tenth Amendment Center)