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-By Morgan Whitaker
March 6, 2013- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed Tuesday that two employees of a company hired by the Republican Party of Florida to register voters admitted they committed fraud during the 2012 election season.
The two former employees of Strategic Allied Consulting are facing third degree felony charges after admitting that they submitted dozens of forged voter registration applications last fall ahead of the 2012 election.
The employees, Rebekah Joy Paul and Christian Davis Price, told investigators they forged forms in order to meet the required number of applications and receive payment. Paul also said that her bosses at Strategic Allied instructed her to not register Democrats, although a lawyer for the company denies that allegation.
-By Sahil Kapur
February 27, 2013- In expressing his deep skepticism Wednesday for the constitutionality of a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia questioned the motivations of Congress for repeatedly reauthorizing it since it was initially passed in 1965.
“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia said during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder. “They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful — the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”
-By Nicole Flatow and Ian Millhiser
February 27, 2013- There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”
-By Steve Benen
February 27, 2013- In recent decades, support for the Voting Rights Act became nearly universal -- that is, until very recently. As much of the right has become increasingly radicalized, the VRA has become a popular target, and Attorney General Eric Holder recently noted that there have been more conservative legal challenges to the Section 5 of the VRA over the past two years than during the previous four decades.
The timing of these challenges is not coincidental -- GOP policymakers nationwide launched an ambitious "war on voting," deliberately creating longer voting lines, closing early-voting windows, addressing imaginary voter fraud through punitive voter-ID laws, restricting voter-registration drives, and overseeing an anti-voting campaign unlike anything seen in the United States since the days of Jim Crow. In many parts of the country, the Voting Rights Act has stood in the way of the larger conservative agenda.