Leaders call on Justice Scalia to recuse self from Section 5 case

Published: Jun. 5, 2013 at 2:27 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2013 at 2:27 AM CDT
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Members of The National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Tuesday called on Justice Antonin Scalia to recuse himself from Shelby County, Alabama v. Attorney General Eric Holder, et al.

Leaders also announced a Caravan for Voting Rights to take place on Friday, June 14th, which will be led by Minister Louis Farrakhan and other state and national leaders.

Senator Hank Sanders said, "The National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 is extremely concerned that Justice Antonin Scalia has discussed and will continue to speak out about a case that is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.  His actions are unacceptable. The prejudice he showed in his remarks during oral argument before the Court on February 27th and his prejudicial remarks since that time in California and elsewhere demand he recuse himself and make it all the more important that we have a Caravan to Save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act on June 14th."

SCLC CEO Dr. Charles Steele said the Coalition is calling for Scalia to recuse himself because he has been talking about the case and publicly arguing his position while the Court is deliberating Shelby County v. Holder, which is the Alabama case pending before the nation's highest Court and seeks to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. 

During oral argument before the Court in February, Scalia called voting rights "racial entitlements." He reiterated that on April 15th in remarks at the University of California Washington Center, where he compared racial minorities to "child abusers" and said that child abusers could also be considered a minority group.  Scalia has repeatedly stated his opposition to Section 5 and openly argued that minority groups do not need voting rights protections – all while the challenge to Section 5 is pending before the Court on which he sits.

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford said, "Section 5 is critical to the protection of voting rights in the South and across our nation.  With a Supreme Court Justice improperly talking about the case while the challenge is before the Court, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to fight this case and to educate and involve the public and the media.  That is why we are having Minister Louis Farrakhan lead the Caravan for Voting Rights in Alabama on Friday, June 14th.  We in Macon County have had our voting rights trampled on, we know firsthand that Section 5 is needed today as much as ever because our voting rights are being denied right now."

Selma Attorney Faya Rose Toure' said, "Section 5 is the heart of the Voting Rights Act, and if the heart dies the rest of the body will die.  We are extremely grateful that Minister Farrakhan will lead this Caravan for Justice on Friday, June 14th." 

She said the Caravan for Voting Rights will first be at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 14th.  Then at 10:30 a.m., the Caravan will be at the Courthouse in Columbiana in Shelby County, where the case challenging the Voting Rights Act arose.  Next it will travel to Selma to join a rally that is beginning at noon and to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 12:30 p.m.  The Caravan will end up in Montgomery on the steps of the State Capitol at 4:00 p.m. 

Alabama Democratic Conference Chair Dr. Joe Reed said, "Without Section 5, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 15th Amendment to U.S. Constitution won't mean much at all. We must save Section 5."

Member organizations of the National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 include National SCLC (the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), SOS (Save Ourselves Summit), the World Conference of Mayors, the International Black Broadcasters Association, the National Voting Rights Museum, Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc., the Slavery and Civil War Museum, the National Policy Institute, Women of Will, the Alabama New South Coalition, the Alabama Democratic Conference and the National Conference of Black Mayors.

INFORMATION SOURCE: The National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5