2009 May 30 Saturday
Sonia Sotomayor On Criminal Voting Disenfranchisement

Barack Obama's pick for a top spot in the most elite legislature in America (what some call the Supreme Court), Judge Sonia Sotomayor, sees the disproportionate voting disenfranchisement of high crime minorities as a bad thing. Why is it that the Left just keeps wanting to break things that work?

In Hayden v. Pataki, a number of inmates in New York state filed suit claiming that because blacks and Latinos make up a disproportionate share of the prison population, the state's refusal to allow them ballot access amounts to an unlawful, race-based denial of their right to vote. Eight of 13 judges on the liberal-leaning Second Circuit dismissed their arguments, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled likewise in a similar case.

Yet, operating on a dubious and extremely broad reading of the Voting Rights Act, Ms. Sotomayor dissented from the decision. In a remarkably dismissive, four-paragraph opinion, she alleged that the "plain terms" of the Voting Rights Act would allow such race-based claims to go forward.

Most voters are ignorant, irrational, and dumb. It is bad enough that we let all non-felon adult citizens vote. The idea of letting criminals vote is crazy.

More generally: we live in a society that has grown too fond of pretty lies.

On the bright side, segregation by class is demoralizing poor people and making them less likely to vote. This improves the intellectual quality of voters - all else equal. More likely, it just slows a decline in the quality of voters.

In the 1970s, whether an individual came from a low-, medium- or high-income county didn't seem to have any predictive effect on whether or not that person voted, though rich people still voted at greater rates than poor people. But over the past three decades, as the nation became more segregated by wealth, the effect of living in a poor county, independent of one's own wealth, became a significant predictor of whether an individual voted or not. In other words, while individual-level poverty has always been associated with less civic engagement, increasing class-based segregation is widening the participatory gap between rich and poor even further. The results are published in the spring issue of Political Science Quarterly.

The upper classes are becoming more motivated to vote with the opposite happening with the lower classes. Sounds like good news to me.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 30 06:53 PM  Politics American Judiciary

Matt@occidentalism.org said at May 30, 2009 10:00 PM:

But Randall, has cognitive ability ever translated into smart voting patterns? I don't think that voting for the average republican or democrat politician could be considered a smart vote.

Randall Parker said at May 30, 2009 11:10 PM:


As bad as voting behavior is now it could be much worse. Smart partisans get brain rewards for tribal stupidity. But they think somewhat smartly about policy options that do not invoke tribal responses. Imagine they lacked the ability to even do that.

Panda said at May 31, 2009 12:29 AM:

So what happens when a Jew with an erection walks into a wall?

He breaks his nose.

OneSTDV said at May 31, 2009 6:02 AM:

I used to listen to rap a lot growing up and I was always confused by something. Why did the rappers constantly rap sympathetically about inmates?

I now realize it's because they don't actually consider many of them criminals. They consider them victims of the (white) system. In their mind, they're basically all wrongly charged victims of racist police officers and judges targeting poor minorities.

Reading in between the lines, it seems as though Sotomayor might share their opinion.

Aki_Izayoi said at May 31, 2009 1:16 PM:

"The upper classes are becoming more motivated to vote with the opposite happening with the lower classes. Sounds like good news to me."

Yup, that is good news Randall. But I do not count myself as an optimist, but more a perma-bear.

BTW, I thought you liked Pat Buchanan's politics (especially his anti-immigration views). Don't those upper class people who are voting dislike Pat Buchanan and are not enthusiastic about being against immigration? Aren't the upper-class Republicans (country-club Republicans)? Aren't upper middle class liberals into the "diversity" illusion (and since they live away from manufacturing jobs, they could care less about immigration, and they are protectioned from immigration in the short term)? What about the stereotypical blue-collared pro-labor union Democrat? He isn't a "diversity liberal," but he does oppose immigration.

Pat Buchanan doesn't appeal to upper classes.

How is upper-class political involvement conducive to promoting the policies you like such as being against immigration? I do not see their interests overlap with the anti-immigration agenda.

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