Michigan Republicans just concluded a study of the 2020 Presidential Election. Their conclusion is that the election was fair and fraud free. The claims of the losing candidate proved to untrue. Nevertheless, Republicans in the Michigan state legislature along with Republican state legislatures across the country are proceeding full steam ahead with voter suppression laws disguised as voter protection laws. If voter security is not a problem looking for a solution, then what is driving these Republicans. A great deal of noise is made about 74 million people voting for Trump. On the other hand, they dismiss the 81 million who voted for Biden. Biden’s winning total was more than 51percent of the vote total. Trump does not even poll in 50 percent range when looking at the electorate as a whole. He is consistently in the mid-forties or lower. Republican realize that they cannot muster more than 50 percent of the vote in order to win; therefore, they have to make sure that eighty plus million opposition voters do no not make it to the polls. Yet, if the voter suppression efforts generate another record turnout, these laws even contain provisions to simply toss votes until Republicans get the election results, they crave. It is almost as if Republicans are paving the way for Trump to run again, claim fraud again, but this time win because an apparatus to cheat will have been installed.
This brings us to the topic of critical race theory. It is my understanding the critical race theory was introduced into various law school curricula in 1989 in order to ferret out how does the law contribute to racial oppression. One need not look any further than the United States Constitution for insight into the law. The Constitution is the highest law in the land. A reading of the first seven articles of the pre-amended Constitution gives evidence of the law aiding in African enslavement’s systematic oppression. The enslaved population could be counted toward assisting someone else to vote even though the enslaved African could not vote themselves. Even if the Africans escaped to freedom, the law required their return. Often, in the American system of government, legislation is passed in order to help clarify and bolster that which is enumerated in the Constitution. To bolster the Constitutional requirements of African enslavement, the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 were passed and signed into law. The operative word here is “law.” America prides itself on being a nation of laws and not men or women. As a consequence, with all the recent celebration surrounding the establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, even the Emancipation Proclamation becomes problematic due to the reality that it was not Constitutional to liberate property without the due process of law. Moreover, the Emancipation Proclamation on freed those enslaved Africans who were bound in the Confederate States. Moreover, Juneteenth was declared in June; however, African enslavement did not end until the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865. It was also at this time that the Dred Scott Decision was reversed. Those of African descent were also given citizenship and the right to vote.
Comparatively speaking, one must also compare America’s Jim Crow laws to the system of apartheid in South Africa where a White minority rule over a vast majority of Black inhabitants of the country. Both Jim Crow and apartheid were considered legal. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses the question of law and oppression in his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by distinguishing between just and unjust laws. For example, Dr. King wrote that a law can be just on its face, but unjust in its application.
The recent onslaught of voter suppression laws appears to simply want to deny the franchise to a large swath of the American populous. As a consequence, the Justice Department is filing a lawsuit against the voter suppression laws in the state of Georgia. More than likely, this will spawn more action on the part of the Justice Department. Keep in mind that the Justice Department was created in 1870 in order to help protect the rights of the formerly enslaved and individuals of color in general. It is a highly cynical mover on the part of Republican controlled state legislatures to place electioneering tactics into the law in order to drive down voter turnout and undercount the votes of those who manage to make it through the legal gauntlet to actually vote. Dr. King referred to this as difference made legal when difference is used to oppress in general and legally oppress in particular.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) an is currently an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, and books: Oral Presidency and The American Political Narrative in addition to three collections of verse including Love Agnostic: The Eternal Protest.