A 3-judge panel of the infamous 9th Circuit, the most overturned federal appellate court, has overturned a Washington state law (and any other similar laws of the other states under its jurisdiction) that disallowed felons from voting, even while still in prison. The reason? Minority disenfranchisement. Because blacks are more likely to be in prison than anyone else. Dafydd ab Hugh has a partial list of the judges who ruled in the majority and minority, and who nominated them:
The majority decision was written by Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima, who was first nominated to the bench by Jimmy Carter in 1980, then elevated to the Ninth Circus by Bill Clinton in 1995 (confirmed in 1996); the dissenter -- she wanted it remanded back to the courts to consider whether this calamity of non-voting felons was mitigated by a recent Washington state law making it easier for felons to recover their right to vote after finishing their sentences -- the dissenter, Margaret McKeown, was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1997. (I cannot find the name of the concurring judge.)
I found the third name somewhere else. The concurring judge was none other than the notorious Carter-appointed lefty loon Stephen Reinhardt.
Dafydd asks the question:
Say -- wouldn't the mere fact that blacks and Hispanics are jailed at greater percentages than whites all by itself violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act ban on segregation?
An appeal will send this back to a full en banc hearing of all the judges on the 9th Circuit. It is possible, but not necessarily likely, that the ruling will be overturned there. If not, it goes to the Supreme Court; despite the Court's makeup, I have very little doubt the Supremes will throw it out.
Dafydd links to a San Francisco Chronicle piece that has Judge Tashima explaining further his "legal" reasoning behind his ruling: the entire American justice system is discriminatory against blacks. The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Ryan Haygood of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, comes up with this idiotic gem that leftists would agree with:
[Haygood] said the evidence showed that minorities and whites who committed crimes in Washington aren't treated equally. Allowing felons to vote benefits everyone, he said, because "participation legitimizes democracy."
Right. Sure it does.
This is as ridiculous a ruling as any that I've ever heard. Regardless of whether or not blacks are being discriminated against by the criminal justice system (and there are arguments that say otherwise), there's nothing that entitles imprisoned felons of any race the right to vote, no matter how many leftist "studies" say minorities, especially blacks, are being disenfranchised.
I'm sure if presented with other "studies" of minority disenfranchisement, the 9th Circus would allow the dead to vote via a proxy by a member of the deceased's "family". If this were Chicago, of course, multiple members could supply the votes as well.
There is some more good stuff that Dafydd provides [emphasis from original]:
Every criminologist will tell you the same thing: Blacks and Hispanics commit more violent crimes per capita than do whites; though ideologically reassuring for some, the axiom of "cultural equivalence" falls apart in the real world. Thus merely citing "disproportionality" proves nothing about causality.
(For that matter, 93% of those imprisoned in 2008 were male; isn't anyone going to investigate the "obvious" sex discrimination against men?)
Dafydd also highlights the racism of the majority who made this ruling, and the racism that is inherent in leftists [emphasis from original]:
But there is a deeper, even more insidious racism in this case, and it oozes from every pore of the majority: By ruling that denying voting rights to convicted felons discriminates against minorities in general, two judges are equating felons of all races with the entire minority population. It's as bad as saying an entrance exam for getting into university "discriminates against blacks." Why, because blacks are known to be unusually stupid?
How stunningly offensive. Crikey, what a horrendous calumny that is on the honest, law-abiding, minority population of the entire western United States.
How does Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa feel to learn that anti-punishment radicals equate his voting rights with those of convicted felons, or argue that Villaraigosa is statistically "more likely" to be sent to prison than, say, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom? I would be hopping mad.
Read Dafydd's whole post.
UPDATE: Patterico has a very lengthy post on this as well, with a link to the Big Lizards post I linked to, opining that Dafydd needed to read more of the ruling and the studies upon which the ruling was based:
However, Dafydd has not read the decision or the studies upon which it is based, and so he has failed to grapple with the claims of the sociology professors who claim to have looked at the very variables Dafydd accuses the court of ignoring.
Two other things Patterico notes. First, this ruling, bad as it is, was not based on the Equal Protection Clause but the Voting Rights Act, so it isn't as far-reaching as it could be. Second, the attorneys defending the state of Washington did a lousy job since they didn't provide any evidence that could counteract the evidence provided by the plaintiffs. Patterico explains why.
Patterico leaves his harshest criticism for the judges ruling in the majority:
You can see how dangerous it is to allow sociology professors to have their reports given the force of law by liberal Circuit judges — especially when they don’t appear to understand what they’re reading.
Patterico goes into further details on what he's saying.
As they say, read it all.