Election Law, Lawsuit of the Day, Minority Issues, Racism, Texas

Lawsuit of the Day: Texas Lawyer Argues That Minorities Were Too Stupid To Understand Ballot Initiative They Just Passed

Wait, that’s the wrong answer.

It’s been great fun to watch archconservatives wake up and realize what country they’ve been living in this whole time. Minorities vote too. Single women don’t like being called sluts. Gays and lesbians are everywhere. And people can understand that sometimes, taxes are necessary.

The emerging American consciousness — from both Democrats and Republicans — that if we want government to do things we have to pay for them with taxes, has been particularly fun to watch. In Austin, Texas, there was a ballot initiative which contemplated raising property takes to in order to pay for “a medical school in Austin and other health care projects,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. And it passed!

But that didn’t sit well with some Texans. Don Zimmerman, treasurer of the Travis County Taxpayers Union political action committee, argued that the initiative — called Proposition 1 — was discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. Zimmerman and his attorney argued that Prop 1 was confusing to minorities who “have lower reading comprehension than whites.”

Maybe so, but I sho’nuff can spy me a racist when I done read one….

If this wasn’t happening in open court, I’d think that some troll made up the arguments offered by Zimmerman and his lawyer. From the Austin American-Statesman:

Stephen Casey, the lawyer for Zimmerman, his PAC and two minority voters, said he is exploring options, including the possibility of appealing to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He argued before Yeakel Wednesday afternoon that the ballot language amounted to “cheerleading” and that minority voters, whom he said have lower reading comprehension than whites, were more likely to find the wording confusing.

Aren’t you just dying to see what language was very clear to white voters but way too confusing to minority voters? Me too. Here’s the proposition, as it appeared on the Travis County ballot (click to enlarge):

Now the question isn’t whether or not you or I can understand this passage. We can because we’ve had legal training, are intelligent, and I just told you in the opening what this passage means.

The question, presented by Zimmerman and Casey, is whether or not minorities, by dint of their particular pigmentation, are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding this measure as compared to whites. Zimmerman and Casey are arguing that minorities living in Austin can’t read as well as whites, simply because they happen to be minorities living in Austin.

Needless to say, the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, denied the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction against the property tax.

“The court holds that plaintiffs have failed to establish a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits … (and) have an almost impossible burden to demonstrate that the Voting Rights Act provides them the opportunity to challenge the language of Proposition 1,” Yeakel said in his 11-page decision.

The Voting Rights Act is there so people can’t make laws arbitrarily declaring some people too stupid to vote. Luckily, there’s nothing stopping the courts from summarily dismissing lawsuits filed by the truly ignorant.

Judge rejects effort to prevent medical school proposition from taking effect [Austin American-Statesman]

(hidden for your protection)

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