Rep. Clyburn: Scalia Doesnt Care About the Voting Rights Act Because Hes White and Proud

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina speaks to delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP)

Rep. Jim Clyburn charged that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has little regard for a piece of landmark civil rights legislation because he’s “white and proud.”

The longtime South Carolina Democratic congressman told the Huffington Post Friday he was “absolutely shocked” to hear the conservative justice describe to a key section of the Voting Rights Act as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” earlier this week. The court heard arguments about the provision that requires the federal government to sign off on voting system changes in certain states that have a history of discrimination.

“I’m not easily surprised by anything, but that took me to a place I haven’t been in a long time,” Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, told the Huffington Post. “What Justice Scalia said, to me, was, ‘The 15th Amendment of the Constitution ain’t got no concerns for me because I’m white and proud.’”

South Carolina and Texas were both blocked from implementing new voter identification laws because they fall under the Voting Rights Act.

“When you have in 2012…states making changes to their laws that you can look on their face and see that these changes will make it harder for minorities to have their votes affect the results that they intend, you say that we don’t need [the Voting Rights Act] anymore? Is this some kind of entitlement?” Clyburn said. “Well, the Constitution of the U.S. is an entitlement for everybody.”

He said the law “had a positive impact on the voting rights of people traditionally denied the right to vote. To ignore that, to me, is beyond the pale. It means you went to the bench with an agenda.”

Clyburn added, “Playing around with the Voting Rights Act is playing with fire.”

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