Say what? In neighborhoods with high % of criminals who can't vote, the political voice of the entire community is diluted, & Ga. law is the culprit.
Damn, I miss reading my hard copy of the ajc for one day, and I miss a biggie that I didn't see from the ajc online. I found it early this morning looking at yesterday's paper, today's fishwrapper.
The 9-23-04 ajc has an article reporting that Rep. Bob Holmes and Rep. Tyrone Brooks said they will sponsor legislation during the next General Assembly session aimed at removing the voting ban for felons on probation or parole.
Brooks, Holmes, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and others spoke at a news conference Wednesday at the Capitol to mark the release of a study indicating that the voting strength in entire Atlanta neighborhoods is diluted because so many black males are in the correctional system and thus can't vote.
And so we are going to correct this by giving the criminals the right to vote.
What gives here?
Don't these people know what probation and parole is. But for being on probation or on parole, these convicted felons would be in jail.
But they are not talking about legislation letting inmates vote, just convicted felons while they are out of prison either on parole or probation, both of the foregoing sometimes being because we have more prisoners than prison beds (although this is not always or even the case most of the time, increasingly it will be as the number of prisoners increases faster than we have prison beds for them).
Rather than making a futile legislative statement that does not discourage crime, why not introduce some legislation encouraging people not to commit felonies which do and should cause one to lose his or her right to vote until one's citizenship rights are restored upon completion of one's sentence.
Such legislation could encourage adults to get into mentoring, shadowing, tutoring, being role models, or something similar that addresses the problem rather than minimizing the consequences of violating laws prohibiting behavior serious enough to constitute a felony.
Rev. Lowery, I heard your "sermon" at the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO of which Rep. Brooks is president) this year. You did good, and I bought into much although not all of what you told your audience.
But this type talk where you are faulting diluted voting power on reasonable and known consequences of serious violations of laws designed that protect all of us is a crock of baloney.
I said a day late, two posts short. I also missed what is an interesting development under the headline "Legislators can't join suit on gay union, judge says" (p. C4 in the ajc's Metro section that I can't now find online).
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Russell denied the request of several Georgia legislators to be included as defendants in the lawsuit challenging the Nov. 2 ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in the state constitution.
Judge Constance Russell ruled that the state’s interests were already thoroughly represented in the lawsuit, such representation being by Attorney General Thurbert Baker.
I think this ruling could have gone either way because of various political considerations.
Prior to the ruling being announced, I had thought that the Attorney General might not oppose the legislators becoming parties -- and may even have gone so far to to inform the Court that it welcomed the additional defendants.
To understand this thinking, realize that the named defendant in the case is Secretary of State Cathy with a "C" Cox, in her capacity as the state's electons supervisor.
As a constitutional officer being sued, she is being defended by my friend Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Both Cox and Baker are, of course, Democrats.
The legislation being challenged, although supported by rural white Democrat legislators and some urban black Democratic legislators in the state house, is legislation the GOP likes to lay claim to as part of its family values platform.
So why would our Attorney General not oppose the legislators becoming defendants?
Such legislators are Republicans, and it is assumed that the Christian Coalition and other important wings of the GOP would assist in the legal costs of such defense.
With the legislators' defense team being present, no one could say that the case for the proposed constitutional amendment being legally OK would not be thoroughly defended.
But with Democrat Baker's defense team handling the defense alone, if the defense was unsuccessful regardless of their best efforts and the amendment's wording was determined to be legally defective, some could question whether the defense team really wanted to prevail.
This is law stuff versus public perception stuff. As an attorney, if you cannot adequately and fully represent your client, we have an ethical obligation to so inform the Court. Thurbert Baker is a class act, and ethics is high on his list of characteristics.
Thus my thinking he might not oppose intervention by the legislators had more to do with perception than reality.
But one thing is for sure. I have a lot of confidence in Judge Russell. She knows her business and will call 'em as she sees 'em, regardless of who the parties are.
Judge Russell we remember is the judge who was involved in the previous high profile skirmish between the Attorney General and the Governor, a round in which the Attorney General had the Governor for lunch.
This is going to be interesting.