Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Repeal of Racial Justice Act isn't racist — yeah, right

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 3:38 PM

On Monday, the N.C. Senate voted to repeal the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which allowed judges in death penalty cases to consider statistical evidence of historic racial bias. The repeal now goes to Gov. Perdue's desk. Thus, the 1950s Retread Squadron, also known as the GOP majority in the N.C. General Assembly, continues its battle to drag our state back to that less-kind, far-from-gentle, not to mention systemically unjust, decade which Republicans and their ignorant, fundamentalist, ill-tempered base view as a golden age.

Ah yes, those were the days — when women couldn’t terminate a pregnancy without risking prison, when blacks and the poor could be kept from voting at the whim of a local political boss, when the disabled had the good taste to stay out of sight, when gay men and lesbians had to hide who they were for fear of arrest or worse, and the state could execute black men till the cows came home without having to worry over lousy liberals wailing about some candy-assed notion like “justice.”

One thing you can say about the Retread Squadron is that it's confident. These people apparently don’t mind throwing away what African American votes they might have had a chance to garner in the 2012 elections, nor the votes of independents who may not trust Democrats but don’t want to vote for obvious racists, either.

The Charlotte Observer’s editorial department today said Gov. Perdue shouldn’t veto the new bill, but should work toward doing away with the death penalty altogether. You can read the paper's take on the situation here. I think Perdue should do both: veto the bill, which was designed specifically to appeal to the Retread Squadron's sad base of supporters’ worst instincts — and work on moving the state toward halting capital punishment in North Carolina.

One useful measure would be to do the same as Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who announced a reprieve for his state's death-row inmates for the duration of his term. Then let the next governor be the one to reinstate capital punishment, if he/she thinks it's politically viable. One thing’s for sure: this latest hateful move by the legislature’s GOP is another indication that these guys are truly nasty pieces of work.

Supporters of repeal of Racial Justice Act celebrate
  • Supporters of repeal of Racial Justice Act celebrate

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