Melissa Harris-Perry | March 02, 2013
>>> perhaps just as disturbing as justice antonin scalia 's arguments was what justice clarence thomas had to say. yeah, that is right, folks, in a case that may leave the voting rights of millions of people of color unprotected the lone african-american man on the court said nothing. but that was certainly not the case for chief justice john roberts who asked this.
>> it is possible that the citizens in the south are more racist than the citizens in the north?
>> and he also made this oobservation earlier.
>> which state has the greatest disparity in registration between white and african-american? well sh well, first is massachusetts and third in mississippi where the african-american registration is high near on the white registration rate.
>> it seems like john roberts made a hell of a compelling case for tex tension to the voting rights act to the state of massachusetts . we go to the bridge in selma, alabama, where is the sight of bloody sunday where people were marching in 1965 and brutally beaten by the police. we are joined by the council of the legal defense fund chairman cherilyn.
>> is that a reasonable argument that it is not more racist in the south?
>> no, it is not a reasonable argument, and it is shocking to hear from the courtroom, because it is a one of the most es assembling, and as we were sitting there as people there in alabama can tell you about the struggle there and how white power has tried to take control of the district for decades, so to hear that statement was shock iing. listening to you recount it hearing it here as i am at the foot of the edmond pettis bridge, the site of the march of 1965 made the statements more disturbing. john lewis got it right that it was a not a front. i wrote about it, and you ccan find my gap about it. there was a gasp when justice scalia made his comments, and it felt like a slap with a 1,500-page document that congress has concluded. it does not matter at the end of the day what chief roberts thinks is the nature of racial discrimination in 2013 or what justice scalia or jus ti sotomayor thinks, but the question is what did congress have and did they have a basis? they can't ignore the record that congress had over a year representing the ongoing racial discrimination throughout this country.
>> i want to pause there for a moment. in case people have missed this, when the 1965 voting rights act was reauthorized in 2006 it was with overwhelming unanimous support including a 98-0 vote in the u.s. senate , and that means therefore all of the senators in the states that are covered by a preclearance.
>> well, that is what got justice scalia so agitated, because he suggested that it was a unanimous vote in the senate must mean it is the perpetuation of racial entitlement and hard to reverse that once it happens. it is interesting because justice scalia 's confirmation vote was 98-0 in the senate. so he was using the fact that we have wonderful progress that we have that even the senators covered by section 5 have the need for the ongoing clearance process. so he went on the say this is must mean a racial entitlement and we as the court must step in, because we cannot trust congress. it was extraordinary statement and i would be surprised if a majority of the supreme court justices want to line up with that statement.
>> stay with us cherilyn, because it would be interesting if we can say that the comments of justice scalia were