The Supremes rule in favor of Riley

Remember all the flap about Riley’s appointment to the Mobile County Commission when Sam Jones, one of its three members, was elected mayor? Well, it finally wended its way up to the Supreme Court, and they just now ruled in favor of Riley. I have posted about this before on the Blues (here and here) and also on Thomason Tracts, offering my opinion that this is about a Larger Issue than who represents District One on the Mobile County Commission: this is about systematically weakening the Voting Rights Act. (I wish I actually knew anything about law and could expound on this brilliant theory.)

Aside from the VRA, however, I hope that this is not about re-installing Juan Chastang on the County Commission. I may be forced to organize a rally, or petition drive, or something. He is just not fit to do the job. It’s sad, y’all. “The practical impact of today’s decision was not clear,” says the Mullet Wrap Register. Yikes. And yikes for you in Birmingham, facing a similar situation – what does this mean legally for that appointee?

EDIT: I found this “PrawfsBlawg” entry from a little over a month ago in which Real Lawyers and Teachers of Law are discussing the Mobile case. (The last commenter predicts what actually happened – a 7-2 ruling in favor of Riley.) Here’s the last sentence of the post: [The] lack of any big picture of social justice in appellants’ oral argument or briefs illustrates a tragic trivialization of modern voting rights litigation. I agree. Grasping at any tool they could find to overturn Riley’s appointment (and with good reason – Juan Chastang!) the Mobile crew misused, in my opinion, the Voting Rights Act. Now they’ve gone and lost, and possibly given strength or even ammunition to those who would like to retire the VRA altogether.  And all that state money wasted.

14 Responses to “The Supremes rule in favor of Riley”

  1. Dan says:

    (I wish I actually knew anything about law and could expound on this brilliant theory.)

    Isn’t it odd that you would make such a broad statement that this case is designed to weaken the VRA and then claim that you have no expertise to defend that statement?

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but you’re basically saying, “This is about X but I don’t really know anything about X.” Wouldn’t it then just be a gut feeling? Perhaps boosted by the expressed or implicit opinion of others? And then wouldn’t you just be spreading a rumor?

    Not that I’m above that!

  2. Del says:

    Okay then, it’s a gut feeling. I didn’t get it until Riley made what seemed to be a second completely futile similar appointment in Birmingham and Troy King appealed the Mobile case all the way to the US Supreme Court. It seemed like an awful lot of time, money and energy spent to fight a decision that wasn’t exactly a body blow to the Alabama GOP. If anything, Chastang’s potential to embarrass the party seems like the graver harm.

  3. asdf says:

    The ‘home rule’ laws affecting Mobile and Birmingham are different. The Court’s ruling applied only to Mobile. Neither are subject to VRA oversight.

  4. Kathy says:

    Isn’t it odd that you would make such a broad statement that this case is designed to weaken the VRA and then claim that you have no expertise to defend that statement?

    Isn’t it odd that we blog about politics even though we don’t have advanced degrees in political science?

  5. Del says:

    He did say he wasn’t above it, Kathy :)

  6. bhmhomeboy says:

    Isn’t it odd that someone would criticize someone for offerring their opinion?

    It’s about weaking the VRA in order to eventually get rid of the VRA. Alabama’s rich history is all the proof you need.

  7. Dan says:

    It’s about weaking the VRA in order to eventually get rid of the VRA. Alabama’s rich history is all the proof you need.

    No, that’s not proof. It could support evidence, but it’s not evidence of a current conspiracy at all.

    I’m not claiming you need a law degree to have an opinion about the VRA any more than I’m saying you need a political science degree to blog. Opinions are fine. I just wanted to say that such a broad accusation should have at least a glimmer of evidence before I’ll take it as value.

    I could just as easily say that the Alabama Arise’s legislative agenda is really about trying to bring communism to Alabama. It could be argued that their agenda could help that objective. Of course, I don’t have evidence to support that nor do I have evidence that their agenda would lead to a worker’s paradise.

    You don’t need a law degree to read the Voting Rights Act. You also don’t need a law degree to consider how a written ruling would affect it. I was just surprised by such a strong accusation, and I was disappointed that there wasn’t an effort to defend it with any evidence.

    The statement assumes two criteria. (1) The ruling would weaken the VRA. (2) The plaintiff’s objective was primarily to accomplish (1). I’m not even sure (1) is accurate, so there’s no way I’m going to believe (2).

    In the end, you can say all you want and your readers can believe what they want based on their own criteria.

  8. Del says:

    It’s hardly a secret that southern Republicans would like to see the VRA overturned. They were quite vocal about it in 2006. The Supreme Court has dismissed a Justice Department ruling that the VRA was violated by Riley’s appointment. If that doesn’t weaken the VRA itself, it certainly weakens the Justice Department’s enforcement of it.

  9. Kathy says:

    In the end, you can say all you want and your readers can believe what they want based on their own criteria.

    Um, Dan, you do realize you used a quote from a commenter in order to somehow attack Del’s credibility? If you have an issue with her opinion, which she clearly offered as opinion, address it. There’s no need to be snotty.

  10. asdf says:

    Mr Pot, meet Ms Kettle

  11. Kathy says:

    asdf, oddly enough, you’re the second commenter this week to use a fake email address. Keep it up and you’ll find your comments deleted.

  12. Dan says:

    I actually meant the plural and anonymous “you.” I offer opinions all the time which people either accept or ignore.

  13. Kathy says:

    Ah, the intertubes. They’re wonderful, but they do leave much to be desired when it comes to inflection, context, etc.

  14. [...] a house with a padlock on the front door, that’s one heck of a lot of money. Yes folks, the Juan Chastang problem simply will not go away. (Riley appointed him to fill the seat on the Mobile county commission [...]

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