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Wise Latinas, Felons Voting, and the Racial Divide

NPR and Wise Latinas – A researcher at Harvard has concluded that black federal trial judges get overturned at a rate 10 percent higher than white federal trial judges. Now, I’m skeptical that this proves anything about anything, but what’s interesting is the way this National Public Radio story looks at the study.  All kinds of explanations are considered, except for the most obvious one: If, in the name of “diversity,” less qualified African Americans are appointed to the bench, then they would be more likely to commit reversible errors. 

NPR gives more credence to the possibility of “unconscious biases” or, in particular, that black judges might bring a particular viewpoint to their judging, and then that viewpoint gets squelched on appeal, defeating the whole purpose of “diversity.” So we’re back to the notion that your skin color and national origin not only can but should determine how a judge rules — back, that is, to the notions of wise Latinas and anti-Trump Mexican judges.

Virginia’s Non-Racist Voting Law – The New York Times has an op-ed here by the ACLU’s Dale E. Ho, titled “Virginia’s Racist Voting Law” and tied in with the recent oral argument before the Virginia state supreme court, in which a challenge is being heard to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s executive order reenfranchising 206,000 felons. 

Hans von Spakovsky and I have elsewhere explained why the order is bad policy and bad law and politically sleazy to boot, and why it makes perfect sense to require those who have broken the law to show they have turned over a new leaf before letting them participate in the solemn enterprise of making laws for everyone else. 

So today I’ll make just one point in response to Mr. Ho’s claim that the 1971 law currently on the books in Virginia is somehow tainted with the racist remarks made at a state constitutional convention in 1902.  If there were any evidence that this was true, then — as Mr. Ho himself acknowledges in the op-ed — the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that such a law would be unconstitutional, and the ACLU (or the Justice Department, or the Democratic Party, or any one of many other well-funded left-wing and politically savvy entities) would be only too happy to challenge it in court. Virginia, after all, is a swing state that’s rich in electoral votes. 

But no such lawsuit has been brought — which I think proves that there really is no such evidence.

Oh, and by the way:  Late last week the Virginia state supreme court struck down Gov. McAuliffe’s order.

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Finally, the Orange County Register recently asked for views on “The Racial Divide” in this country, and here’s what I sent them:

First, we should keep things in perspective.  Compared to where we were 200, 100, or even 50 years ago, America has made amazing progress.  It is illegal to discriminate in just about any public transaction, and racism is socially unacceptable.  America is an astonishingly multiethnic and multiracial country, and indeed individual Americans are more and more likely to be multiethnic or multiracial – starting, of course, with our president.

Racism still exists, but in a free society there will always be a few racists, of all colors.  And there are racial disparities in many areas.  But the racism and the disparities that are problematic are principally about African Americans, not other groups.  What’s more, those disparities are the main cause of the remaining antiblack racism.   They don’t justify it — we should treat people as individuals — but they do explain it.

Finally, the reason for these disparities — in crime, in poverty, in education, you name it — is the fact that more than 7 out of 10 African Americans are born out of wedlock today.  Growing up in a home without a father — whatever your color — is linked to just about any social problem you can name.  Whites and Latinos are headed in the wrong direction on this, too, but the problem is worst among blacks.

Bottom line:  If American race relations are going to continue to improve, and if America is going to continue to be the envy of the world, people need to wait until they are married to have children.