Supremacistas Blancos Construyeron un Sitio Web para Exponer Parejas Interraciales, y al parecer Será Difícil Eliminarlo

Image taken from: https://brendanbuschi.blogspot.com/2017/07/

Grupos racistas han publicado una base de datos con mensajes de odio dirigida a mujeres blancas que salen con hombres de color como “traidoras”, hostigándolas en línea.

“Allison” y su prometido tienen una cuenta pública en Instagram que utilizan para dar a sus seguidores una idea de su vida juntos en Chicago, IL. Ellos siempre publican imágenes con los hashtags #love y #interracialcouple.

Esta pareja ya se había acostumbrado a recibir comentarios racistas debajo de sus fotos. Sin embargo, a principios de mayo, esos comentarios comenzaron a suceder con más frecuencia y adquirieron un tono más siniestro e incluso amenazante, a menudo con referencias a oscuros supremacistas blancos o memes relacionados con el “incel” (“Involuntary Celibate”: movimiento en línea creado por hombres que sienten frustración por su incapacidad de encontrar una pareja romántica o para tener relaciones sexuales con el sexo opuesto, se consideran machos alfa, apelan a la superioridad masculina y la misoginia contra mujeres especialmente atractivas como principal característica narcisista).

El 5 de mayo de este año, “Allison”, cuyo verdadero nombre se oculta por su seguridad, recibió un extraño Mensaje Directo. Era de una mujer que ella no conocía, quien le informó que su nombre estaba en un sitio web inquietante que recopilaba información sobre mujeres blancas en relaciones interraciales.

Cuando ella visitó el sitio web, encontró su nombre, fotos y redes sociales bajo la etiqueta “traidores”.

“Fue raro, extraño y espeluznante”, dijo Allison, de 28 años. “Estaba pensando ‘¿Quién se toma el tiempo para hacer esto?'”

El sitio web nombra, avergüenza y promueve la violencia contra las parejas y familias interraciales, y ha circulado en algunos de los rincones más oscuros de Internet, incluidos los servidores neonazis de Discord y canales “aceleracionistas” en Telegram.

Los supremacistas blancos siempre han invocado la “pureza racial” para justificar el racismo y los actos brutales de violencia contra las personas no blancas. Y en los últimos años, han confiado en las redes sociales o foros marginales para organizar campañas de hostigamiento masivo o ataques contra personas de color, judíos, mujeres y periodistas.

“Un sitio web como este es preocupante por razones incluso más allá del odio repulsivo que promueve. Este sitio web es otro ejemplo de cómo se están diseñando ciertos espacios en línea para, literalmente, facilitar el acoso”, dijo Oren Segal, vicepresidente del Centro de Extremismo de la Liga Anti-Difamación. “Tienen impacto en el mundo real en personas reales. Los sistemas en línea que requiere un sitio como este para operar deben tomar medidas para responder a esta situacion”.

El sitio web se creó en abril, pero se desconectó después de que su proveedor de alojamiento inicial cortara lazos con ellos. Luego encontraron un alojamiento en uno de los mayores registradores de dominios de Rusia, R01. VICE News contactó a R01 el martes para preguntar si el sitio violó sus políticas. Una hora después, el sitio se desconectó, pero a partir del miércoles por la mañana se volvió a instalar. Tatiana Agafonova, portavoz de R01, escribió en un correo electrónico que la compañía “prestaría diligentemente sus servicios a los clientes” a menos que un tribunal dictamine lo contrario o la policía entrara en contacto con ellos.

El propietario del sitio web protege su identidad y ubicación a través de Cloudflare, una compañía de seguridad con sede en los EE. UU. que protege a los clientes de los ataques DDoS (intento de bloquear un sitio web al abrumarlo con  un incesante flujo de datos). VICE News contactó a Cloudflare para preguntar cómo este sitio web en particular cuadraba con sus políticas. Ellos se negaron a comentar sobre sitios los web individuales, pero nos dirigieron a su blog desde febrero de 2019, donde “abordan las quejas sobre el contenido”. Su conclusión era que Cloudflare es una empresa de seguridad, y la moderación de contenido no es realmente su responsabilidad.

A pesar de lo anterior, Cloudflare ha hecho algunas excepciones en el pasado. Después de la violenta manifestación de los supremacistas blancos en Charlottesville en agosto de 2017, las grandes compañías tecnológicas, incluida Cloudflare, lucharon por controlar a los extremistas que habían usado sus servicios para organizar, compartir propaganda y reclutar personas. Cloudflare se desvió de su permanente política de neutralidad en cuanto a la moderación de contenido cuando decidió terminar sus servicios para el sitio web neonazi Daily Stormer, después de que este se burlara del fallecimiento de Heather Heyer, quien murió cuando un neonazi condujo su automóvil hacia una multitud durante los eventos de Charlottesville. “Esta fue mi decisión”, dijo el CEO de Cloudflare, Matthew Prince, a Gizmodo en ese momento. “Esta no es la política general de Cloudflare ahora, de ahora en adelante”.

Cloudflare volvió a tomar medidas luego de que un supremacista blanco atacara a latinos en un tiroteo masivo perpetrado en Walmart en El Paso, Texas en agosto de 2019. El presunto tirador había compartido su manifiesto en 8chan, un sitio de imágenes conocido por sus vínculos con terroristas de extrema derecha. Cloudflare decidió cortar los lazos con 8chan. Prince dijo que “toleran de mala gana el contenido que consideramos censurable, pero trazamos la línea en las plataformas que han demostrado que inspiran directamente eventos trágicos y son ilegales por diseño”.

El esfuerzo por eliminar la plataforma de los principales organizadores detrás de la manifestación de Charlottesville (que tuvo como resultado la muerte de Heyer y docenas de heridos) fue exitoso; la mayoría de ellos se encuentran en bancarrota, aun inmersos en demandas y desvaneciéndose lentamente en la oscuridad. Pero en los años transcurridos desde aquellos hechos, otros extremistas en línea se han vuelto muy eficaces para evadir las represiones tecnológicas mediante el empleo de un lenguaje compartido en forma de memes y eufemismos en constante evolución utilizado para señalar las mismas opiniones racistas.

El sitio web en cuestión utiliza esa misma estrategia, que parece haber sido cuidadosamente diseñada en un esfuerzo por proteger al propietario de la responsabilidad. El propietario incluso declara explícitamente en el sitio que no fomentan la violencia: todo lo que están haciendo es enumerar nombres y cuentas de redes sociales como parte de una base de datos de “mujeres blancas interesadas en los hombres negros”. Una sección se titula “toll paid” y enumera a las mujeres que han estado en relaciones interraciales y que han pasado por una experiencia horrible, como lesiones e incluso la muerte.

“Allison” dijo que la referencia a “toll paid” era una de las cosas que seguían apareciendo en los comentarios en su cuenta de Instagram. “Cosas como ‘no puedo esperar hasta que pagues el precio cuando él te gane'”, dijo Allison. “O ‘el peaje se pagará un día cuando él estrelle tu enorme frente contra el suelo”.

El propietario del sitio web afirma que la sección “toll paid” está destinada a catalogar incidentes donde mujeres blancas son víctimas de violencia doméstica por parte de afroamericanos, y por lo tanto no es una incitación al odio.

Pero “todos los descargos de responsabilidad del mundo” pueden no ser suficientes para protegerlos de una demanda algún día, especialmente si alguien es acosado o perjudicado como resultado, opina Subodh Chandra, ex fiscal federal que ha manejado casos de alto perfil de derechos civiles, incluido un caso reciente contra el Daily Stormer.

“Los creadores de este contenido están en riesgo de encarar responsabilidad civil, a pesar de todos los descargos de responsabilidad sin sentido que hagan”, dijo Chandra. “Muy bien podrían verse sujetos a enjuiciamiento, en caso de que alguien sea hostigado o dañado de otra manera como resultado de esta actividad”.

Una cuarta parte de las 80 mujeres seleccionadas como “traidoras” en el sitio ya eran famosas en Internet como modelos o personas influyentes. Una es Zienna Sonne, una modelo danesa que estuvo casada con un hombre negro. Sonne dijo que ha sido frecuentemente trolleada a lo largo de los años, por lo que no se sorprendió cuando descubrió que su nombre figuraba en este sitio web. “Cuando todavía estábamos juntos, recibía mensajes casi a diario”, dijo Sonne. “Lamentablemente vivimos en un mundo donde esto es normal”.

Sin embargo, para la mayoría de las mujeres en el sitio, como Allison, quien trabaja para la ciudad de Chicago, esta es la primera vez que son atacadas como parte de una campaña de acoso masivo. Se siente tan arbitrario. Existen millones de personas que están en relaciones interraciales; según el último censo de EE. UU., el 15% de todos los nuevos matrimonios fueron entre cónyuges de una raza u origen étnico diferente.

La arbitrariedad se debe al hecho de que no se trata solo de una persona que identifica y señala a las parejas; el propietario del sitio web solicita el envío de presentaciones por parte de los visitantes. Una mujer, que trabajaba en el servicio de comidas mientras estudiaba para ser maestra, fue objeto de un ataque junto con otras dos mujeres con las que asistió a la escuela secundaria. Ella cree que la persona que envió sus fotos probablemente era un ex alumno allí. Aún así, el hecho de que ella conozca a la persona que hizo esto realmente no la preocupa. “Soy más fuerte de lo que parezco, estoy bien”, dijo. “Sin embargo, me da asco … Desprecio el racismo”.

Este tipo de esfuerzos de acoso colectivo conlleva otro riesgo legal, dijo Chandra. Si alguien se equivoca con sus datos sobre un individuo al que se dirige o identifica erróneamente a una persona, podría estar sujeto a una responsabilidad aún mayor.

Hasta ahora, las mujeres con las que habló VICE News dijeron que el nivel de acoso o amenazas no las había preocupado tanto por su seguridad como para que se sintieran obligadas a contactar a las fuerzas del orden público. En otros países, incluidos el Reino Unido y Francia, la “incitación al odio étnico o racial”, que podría incluir la administración de un sitio web racista, se considera un delito. Según los informes, las autoridades australianas ya están investigando este sitio web, luego de que fueron contactados por una adolescente de Melbourne que fue atacada a través de la página web.

Fuente traducida al español de: VICE News

Racismo y asco por los racistas. No al Racismo!

Que fue del Juez que Negó la Adopción de Niños a Parejas del Mismo Sexo?

Siendo el año 2019 aún sigue circulando un post en redes sociales que muestra un argumento de un Juez de la Corte de Familia del Estado de Kentucky (USA) relacionado con su oposición a la adopción de niños por parte de parejas del mismo sexo. Por cierto, el caso es del año 2017 y no ha quedado solamente en dichas declaraciones, pues hubo mas.

Fuente imagen: Lexington Herald Leader. Fuente post: Nadie Menos (Facebook)

A pesar de tanto esfuerzo en querer pasar las declaraciones de este Juez en las redes sociales como “un argumento a favor del niño”, un “argumentazo” o uno “a favor de la familia”, lo cierto fue que este juez fue sancionado por faltas a la etica profesional por la Comisión de Conducta Judicial del estado de Kentucky, que es la agencia estatal responsable de investigar las denuncias por faltas a la ética profesional e imponer sanciones de inhabilitación a los jueces de la jurisdicción por dichas faltas.

Luego de tan funestas declaraciones, la Comisión acusó al Juez W. Mitchell Nance en septiembre de 2017 de múltiples violaciones de las reglas de ética judicial, incluidas aquellas que prohibían los prejuicios o prejuicios basados ​​en la orientación sexual.

Nance atrajo la atención nacional en abril de 2017 cuando manifestó que ya no escucharía los casos de adopción relacionados con “fiestas homosexuales” porque indico que permitir que una persona gay adopte nunca podría ser lo mejor para el niño. Debido a esto, la Comision decidio declarar culpable de conducta inapropiada a Nance por afirmar que era correcto negar las audiencias para casos de adopción que involucraran a parejas gays y lesbianas.

El código de conducta judicial de Kentucky requiere que los jueces “decidan los casos de manera justa e imparcial de acuerdo con la ley”.

La Comisión citó cánones que exigían a los jueces promover la confianza pública en la integridad e imparcialidad del poder judicial y prohibir los prejuicios basados ​​en la raza, el sexo, la religión, el original nacional, la discapacidad, la edad, la orientación sexual o el estatus socioeconómico, entre otros. “La negativa del juez Nance a escuchar y decidir los casos de adopción que involucran a homosexuales es una violación de dichos Cánones”, señaló la sanción.

Desde mi perspectiva, señalar que el niño no es un producto para satisfacer un anhelo emocional, ideológico o político, resulta un argumento falaz ya que también sería un anhelo en el caso de las llamadas parejas “tradicionales”. El interés superior del niño apunta a que el niño tenga el derecho a tener una familia que incentive su desarrollo físico, espiritual y emocional preparándolo para su futuro desenvolvimiento en la vida en sociedad. Así, este “argumentazo” fue sancionado por discriminatorio.

Fuentes:

courierjournal

13wbko

advocate

lawandcrime

usatoday

lambdalegal

Laura Kovesi o el pulso contra la corrupción en Rumanía

Cientos de rumanos salen a las calles para apoyar a la jefa de la Fiscalía Anticorrupción, Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Laura Codruța Kövesi. Fiscal Anticorrupción de Rumania. Imagen: https://www.lepoint.fr/politique/emmanuel-berretta/procureur-europeen-le-francais-bonhert-contre-la-roumaine-kovesi-25-02-2019-2296133_1897.php

Laura Kovesi, de 44 años, una de las personalidades más populares de Rumanía, ha sido acusada por el gobierno rumano de “violar” la Constitución y “dañar la imagen” del país en el extranjero.

La acusación pone en su punto máximo la tensión entre la mayoría izquierdista y el poder judicial.

El ministro de Justicia de Rumanía, Tudorel Toader, lanzó este jueves el proceso de destitución. Sin embargo, la decisión final está en manos del presidente Klaus Iohannis, después de que el Consejo Superior de Magistratura emite una opinión sobre el asunto.

El presidente Iohannis ha defendido a Kovesi, que se ha convertido en un símbolo de la lucha contra la corrupción en Rumanía. Los partidos de oposición piden la dimisión del ministro Toader al que acusan de ponerse del lado de los delincuentes.

Entre las acusaciones a Kovesi está el violar la Constitución por investigar el decreto 13 que prevé suavizar las penas por delitos de corrupción.

Fuente: euronews

Video: Inside Romania’s battle against corruption

Leer: El Gobierno rumano cesa a la fiscal jefe Anticorrupción

Rumanía se moviliza para protestar contra la corrupción del Gobierno

Many Native IDs Won’t Be Accepted At North Dakota Polling Places

By: Camila Domonoske

Image: This June, instructions wre posted at an early voting precinct in Bismarck, N.D. In that primary election, tribal IDs that did not show residential addresses were accepted as voter ID. But those same IDs will not be accepted in the general election.
James MacPherson/AP.

Native American groups in North Dakota are scrambling to help members acquire new addresses, and new IDs, in the few weeks remaining before Election Day — the only way that some residents will be able to vote.

This week, the Supreme Court declined to overturn North Dakota’s controversial voter ID law, which requires residents to show identification with a current street address. A P.O. box does not qualify.

Many Native American reservations, however, do not use physical street addresses. Native Americans are also overrepresented in the homeless population, according to the Urban Institute. As a result, Native residents often use P.O. boxes for their mailing addresses, and may rely on tribal identification that doesn’t list an address.

Those IDs used to be accepted at polling places — including in this year’s primary election — but will not be valid for the general election. And that decision became final less than a month before Election Day, after years of confusing court battles and alterations to the requirements.

Tens of thousands of North Dakotans, including Native and non-Native residents, do not have residential addresses on their IDs and will now find it harder to vote.

They will have the option of proving their residency with “supplemental documentation,” like utility bills, instead of their IDs, but according to court records, about 18,000 North Dakotans don’t have those documents, either.

And in North Dakota, unlike other states, every resident is eligible to vote without advance voter registration — so people might not discover the problem until they show up to cast their ballot.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, is trailing her Republican opponent in her race for re-election. Native Americans tend to vote for Democrats.

The Republican-controlled state government says the voter ID requirement is necessary to connect voters with the correct ballot, and to prevent non-North Dakotans from signing up for North Dakota P.O. boxes and traveling to the state to vote fraudulently. In 2016, a judge overturning the law noted that voter fraud in North Dakota is “virtually non-existent.”

The state government says that residents without a street ID should contact their county’s 911 coordinator, to sign up for a free street address and request a letter confirming that address.

A group called Native Vote ND has been sharing those official instructions on Facebook.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is telling members to get in touch if they need help obtaining a residential address and updating their tribal ID. The tribe also says it will be sending drivers to take voters to the polls on Election Day.

“Native Americans can live on the reservations without an address. They’re living in accordance with the law and treaties, but now all of a sudden they can’t vote,” Standing Rock chairman Mike Faith said in a statement. “Our voices should be heard and they should be heard fairly at the polls just like all other Americans.”

Meanwhile, the Bismarck Tribune reports that a Native American organization is working to come up with a last-minute solution for voters who would otherwise be turned away:

“Bret Healy, a consultant for Four Directions, which is led by members of South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said the organization believes it has a common-sense solution.

“The group is working with tribal leaders in North Dakota to have a tribal government official available at every polling place on reservations to issue a tribal voting letter that includes the eligible voter’s name, date of birth and residential address.”

A state official told tribal leaders that such letters will be accepted as proof of residency, the Tribune reports.

Heitkamp called the ID law “burdensome” and once again called for a law to protect the voting rights of Native Americans. She and other legislators have introduced such a bill year after year, unsuccessfully.

“Given the number of Native Americans who have served, fought, and died for this country, it is appalling that some people would still try and erect barriers to suppress their ability to vote,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “Native Americans served in the military before they were even allowed to vote, and they continue to serve at the highest rate of any population in this country.”

The ACLU said the Supreme Court’s decision “enables mass disenfranchisement.” “In an election that may wind up being decided by just a few thousand votes, the court’s decision could be deeply consequential for the country, not just those who live in North Dakota,” staff reporter Ashoka Mukpo wrote on Friday.

In 2016, the Harvard Law Review found that Native Americans “routinely face hurdles in exercising the right to vote and securing representation,” and that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was only a partial solution to the problem.

In: npr

Gomillion v. Lightfoot

Gomillion v. Lightfoot,
364 U.S. 339
Supreme Court of the United States
1960

MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This litigation challenges the validity, under the United States Constitution, of Local Act No. 140, passed by the Legislature of Alabama in 1957, redefining the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. Petitioners, Negro citizens of Alabama who were, at the time of this redistricting measure, residents of the City of Tuskegee, brought an action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for a declaratory judgment that Act 140 is unconstitutional, and for an injunction to restrain the Mayor and officers of Tuskegee and the officials of Macon County, Alabama, from enforcing the Act against them and other Negroes similarly situated. Petitioners’ claim is that enforcement of the statute, which alters the shape of Tuskegee from a square to an uncouth twenty-eight-sided figure, will constitute a discrimination against them in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and will deny them the right to vote in defiance of the Fifteenth Amendment.

The respondents moved for dismissal of the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and for lack of jurisdiction of the District Court.

The court granted the motion, stating, “This Court has no control over, no supervision over, and no power to change any boundaries of municipal corporations fixed by a duly convened and elected legislative body, acting for the people in the State of Alabama.” 167 F.Supp. 405, 410. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, affirmed the judgment, one judge dissenting. 270 F.2d 594. We brought the case here since serious questions were raised concerning the power of a State over its municipalities in relation to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. 362 U.S. 916.

At this stage of the litigation we are not concerned with the truth of the allegations, that is, the ability of petitioners to sustain their allegations by proof. The sole question is whether the allegations entitle them to make good on their claim that they are being denied rights under the United States Constitution. The complaint, charging that Act 140 is a device to disenfranchise Negro citizens, alleges the following facts: Prior to Act 140 the City of Tuskegee was square in shape; the Act transformed it into a strangely irregular twenty-eight-sided figure as indicated in the diagram appended to this opinion. The essential inevitable effect of this redefinition of Tuskegee’s boundaries is to remove from the city all save only four or five of its 400 Negro voters while not removing a single white voter or resident. The result of the Act is to deprive the Negro petitioners discriminatorily of the benefits of residence in Tuskegee, including, inter alia, the right to vote in municipal elections.

These allegations, if proven, would abundantly establish that Act 140 was not an ordinary geographic redistricting measure even within familiar abuses of gerrymandering. If these allegations upon a trial remained uncontradicted or unqualified, the conclusion would be irresistible, tantamount (be equivalent for) for all practical purposes to a mathematical demonstration, that the legislation is solely concerned with segregating white and colored voters by fencing Negro citizens out of town so as to deprive them of their pre-existing municipal vote.

It is difficult to appreciate what stands in the way of adjudging a statute having this inevitable effect invalid in light of the principles by which this Court must judge, and uniformly has judged, statutes that, howsoever speciously defined, obviously discriminate against colored citizens. “The [Fifteenth] Amendment nullifies sophisticated as well as simple-minded modes of discrimination.” Lane v. Wilson, 307 U. S. 268, 307 U. S. 275.

The complaint amply alleges a claim of racial discrimination. Against this claim the respondents have never suggested, either in their brief or in oral argument, any countervailing municipal function which Act 140 is designed to serve. The respondents invoke generalities expressing the State’s unrestricted power — unlimited, that is, by the United States Constitution — to establish, destroy, or reorganize by contraction or expansion its political subdivisions, to-wit, cities, counties, and other local units. We freely recognize the breadth (amplitud) and importance of this aspect of the State’s political power. To exalt this power into an absolute is to misconceive the reach and rule of this Court’s decisions in the leading case of Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 207 U. S. 161, and related cases relied upon by respondents.

The Hunter case involved a claim by citizens of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, that the General Assembly of that State could not direct a consolidation of their city and Pittsburgh over the objection of a majority of the Allegheny voters. It was alleged that, while Allegheny already had made numerous civic improvements, Pittsburgh was only then planning to undertake such improvements, and that the annexation would therefore greatly increase the tax burden on Allegheny residents. All that the case held was (1) that there is no implied contract between a city and its residents that their taxes will be spent solely for the benefit of that city, and (2) that a citizen of one municipality is not deprived of property without due process of law by being subjected to increased tax burdens as a result of the consolidation of his city with another. Related cases upon which the respondents also rely, such as Trenton v. New Jersey, 262 U. S. 182; Pawhuska v. Pawhuska Oil & Gas Co., 250 U. S. 394, and Laramie County v. Albany County, 92 U. S. 307, are far off the mark. They are authority only for the principle that no constitutionally protected contractual obligation arises between a State and its subordinate governmental entities solely as a result of their relationship.

In short, the cases that have come before this Court regarding legislation by States dealing with their political subdivisions fall into two classes:

(1) those in which it is claimed that the State, by virtue of the prohibition against impairment of the obligation of contract (Art. I, § 10) and of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, is without power to extinguish, or alter the boundaries of, an existing municipality; and

(2) in which it is claimed that the State has no power to change the identity of a municipality whereby citizens of a preexisting municipality suffer serious economic disadvantage.

Neither of these claims is supported by such a specific limitation upon State power as confines the States under the Fifteenth Amendment.

As to the first category, it is obvious that the creation of municipalities — clearly a political act — does not come within the conception of a contract under the Dartmouth College Case, 4 Wheat. 518.

As to the second, if one principle clearly emerges from the numerous decisions of this Court dealing with taxation, it is that the Due Process Clause affords no immunity against mere inequalities in tax burdens, nor does it afford protection against their increase as an indirect consequence of a State’s exercise of its political powers.

Particularly in dealing with claims under broad provisions of the Constitution, which derive content by an interpretive process of inclusion and exclusion, it is imperative that generalizations, based on and qualified by the concrete situations that gave rise to them, must not be applied out of context in disregard of variant controlling facts. Thus, a correct reading of the seemingly unconfined dicta of Hunter and kindred cases is not that the State has plenary power to manipulate in every conceivable way, for every conceivable purpose, the affairs of its municipal corporations, but rather that the State’s authority is unrestrained by the particular prohibitions of the Constitution considered in those cases.

The Hunter opinion itself intimates that a state legislature may not be omnipotent even as to the disposition of some types of property owned by municipal corporations, 207 U.S. at 207 U. S. 178-181. Further, other cases in this Court have refused to allow a State to abolish a municipality, or alter its boundaries, or merge it with another city, without preserving to the creditors of the old city some effective recourse for the collection of debts owed them. Shapleigh v. San Angelo, 167 U. S. 646; Mobile v. Watson, 116 U. S. 289; Mount Pleasant v. Beckwith, 100 U. S. 514; Broughton v. Pensacola, 93 U. S. 266. For example, in Mobile v. Watson, the Court said:

“Where the resource for the payment of the bonds of a municipal corporation is the power of taxation existing when the bonds were issued, any law which withdraws or limits the taxing power, and leaves no adequate means for the payment of the bonds, is forbidden by the constitution of the United States, and is null and void.” Mobile v. Watson, supra, at 116 U. S. 305.

This line of authority conclusively shows that the Court has never acknowledged that the States have power to do as they will with municipal corporations regardless of consequences. Legislative control of municipalities, no less than other state power, lies within the scope of relevant limitations imposed by the United States Constitution. The observation in Graham v. Folsom, 200 U. S. 248, 200 U. S. 253, becomes relevant: “The power of the state to alter or destroy its corporations is not greater than the power of the state to repeal its legislation.” In that case, which involved the attempt by state officials to evade the collection of taxes to discharge the obligations of an extinguished township, Mr. Justice McKenna, writing for the Court, went on to point out, with reference to the Mount Pleasant and Mobile cases:

“It was argued in those cases, as it is argued in this, that such alteration or destruction of the subordinate governmental divisions was a proper exercise of legislative power, to which creditors had to submit. The argument did not prevail. It was answered, as we now answer it, that such power, extensive though it is, is met and overcome by the provision of the Constitution of the United States which forbids a state from passing any law impairing the obligation of contracts. . . .” 200 U.S. at 200 U. S. 253-254.

If all this is so in regard to the constitutional protection of contracts, it should be equally true that, to paraphrase, such power, extensive though it is, is met and overcome by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State from passing any law which deprives a citizen of his vote because of his race. The opposite conclusion, urged upon us by respondents, would sanction the achievement by a State of any impairment of voting rights whatever, so long as it was cloaked in the garb of the realignment of political subdivisions. “It is inconceivable that guaranties embedded in the Constitution of the United States may thus be manipulated out of existence.” Frost & Frost Trucking Co. v. Railroad Commission of California, 271 U. S. 583, 271 U. S. 594.

The respondents find another barrier to the trial of this case in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U. S. 549. In that case, the Court passed on an Illinois law governing the arrangement of congressional districts within that State. The complaint rested upon the disparity of population between the different districts which rendered the effectiveness of each individual’s vote in some districts far less than in others. This disparity came to pass solely through shifts in population between 1901, when Illinois organized its congressional districts, and 1946, when the complaint was lodged. During this entire period, elections were held under the districting scheme devised in 1901. The Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that it presented a subject not meet for adjudication. * The decisive facts in this case, which at this stage must be taken as proved, are wholly different from the considerations found controlling in Colegrove.

That case involved a complaint of discriminatory apportionment of congressional districts. The appellants in Colegrove complained only of a dilution of the strength of their votes as a result of legislative inaction over a course of many years. The petitioners here complain that affirmative legislative action deprives them of their votes and the consequent advantages that the ballot affords. When a legislature thus singles out a readily isolated segment of a racial minority for special discriminatory treatment, it violates the Fifteenth Amendment. In no case involving unequal weight in voting distribution that has come before the Court did the decision sanction a differentiation on racial lines whereby approval was given to unequivocal withdrawal of the vote solely from colored citizens. Apart from all else, these considerations lift this controversy out of the so-called “political” arena and into the conventional sphere of constitutional litigation.

In sum, as Mr. Justice Holmes remarked when dealing with a related situation in Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U. S. 536, 273 U. S. 540, “Of course the petition concerns political action,” but “[t]he objection that the subject matter of the suit is political is little more than a play upon words.” A statute which is alleged to have worked unconstitutional deprivations of petitioners’ rights is not immune to attack simply because the mechanism employed by the legislature is a redefinition of municipal boundaries. According to the allegations here made, the Alabama Legislature has not merely redrawn the Tuskegee city limits with incidental inconvenience to the petitioners; it is more accurate to say that it has deprived the petitioners of the municipal franchise and consequent rights, and, to that end, it has incidentally changed the city’s boundaries. While in form this is merely an act redefining metes and bounds (land boundaries/limites), if the allegations are established, the inescapable human effect of this essay in geometry and geography is to despoil colored citizens, and only colored citizens, of their theretofore enjoyed voting rights. That was no Colegrove v. Green.

When a State exercises power wholly (completamente) within the domain of state interest, it is insulated from federal judicial review. But such insulation is not carried over when state power is used as an instrument for circumventing a federally protected right. This principle has had many applications. It has long been recognized in cases which have prohibited a State from exploiting a power acknowledged to be absolute in an isolated context to justify the imposition of an “unconstitutional condition.” What the Court has said in those cases is equally applicable here, viz. (namely; in other words), that “Acts generally lawful may become unlawful when done to accomplish an unlawful end, United States v. Reading Co., 226 U. S. 324, 226 U. S. 357, and a constitutional power cannot be used by way of condition to attain an unconstitutional result.” Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Foster, 247 U. S. 105, 247 U. S. 114. The petitioners are entitled to prove their allegations at trial.

For these reasons, the principal conclusions of the District Court and the Court of Appeals are clearly erroneous, and the decision below must be reversed.

Reversed.

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, while joining the opinion of the Court, adheres to the dissents in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U. S. 549, and South v. Peters, 339 U. S. 276.

* Soon after the decision in the Colegrove case, Governor Dwight H. Green of Illinois, in his 1947 biennial message to the legislature, recommended a reapportionment. The legislature immediately responded, Ill.Sess.Laws 1947, p. 879, and, in 1951, redistricted again. Ill.Sess.Laws 1951, p. 1924.

APPENDIX TO OPINION OF THE COURT.

CHART SHOWING TUSKEGGEE, ALABAMA,

BEFORE AND AFTER ACT 140

The U.S. Supreme Court overturns a redistricting plan enacted by the Alabama legislature, which redrew the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. The court found that the plan — which changed the city’s shape from a square to a 28-sided border (click on image to enlarge) — violated the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and was done expressly to exclude black voters from city elections. Image from: http://the60sat50.blogspot.com/2010/11/monday-november-14-1960-gomillion-v.html

(The entire area of the square comprised of the City prior to Act 140. The irregular black-bordered figure within the square represents the post-enactment city.)

MR. JUSTICE WHITTAKER, concurring.

I concur in the Court’s judgment, but not in the whole of its opinion. It seems to me that the decision should be rested not on the Fifteenth Amendment, but rather on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. I am doubtful that the averments of the complaint, taken for present purposes to be true, show a purpose by Act No. 140 to abridge petitioners’ “right . . . to vote” in the Fifteenth Amendment sense. It seems to me that the “right . . . to vote” that is guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment is but the same right to vote as is enjoyed by all others within the same election precinct, ward or other political division. And, inasmuch as no one has the right to vote in a political division, or in a local election concerning only an area in which he does not reside, it would seem to follow that one’s right to vote in Division A is not abridged by a redistricting that places his residence in Division B if he there enjoys the same voting privileges as all others in that Division, even though the redistricting was done by the State for the purpose of placing a racial group of citizens in Division B, rather than A.

But it does seem clear to me that accomplishment of a State’s purpose — to use the Court’s phrase — of “fencing Negro citizens out of” Division A and into Division B is an unlawful segregation of races of citizens, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483; Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U. S. 1, and, as stated, I would think the decision should be rested on that ground — which, incidentally, clearly would not involve, just as the cited cases did not involve, the Colegrove problem.

In: justia.com

* 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.

In: loc.gov

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