Alabama voters decide to preserve segregation and poll taxes. On the other hand, they recently removed laws against miscegenation.
On careful reading, however, I can see why the good guys lost (again). The bill repealing segregation also sought to establish a right to public education. That could be the nose of the elephant -- after that might come the obligation to fund a public education. Then comes communism, or, worse, liberals and the teaching of natural selection.
Yay red states.
School Segregation Remains a State Law as Amendment Is Defeated
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 28, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On that long-ago day of Alabama's great shame, Gov. George C. Wallace (D) stood in a schoolhouse door and declared that his state's constitution forbade black students to enroll at the University of Alabama...
...If Wallace could be brought back to life today to reprise his 1963 moment of infamy outside Foster Auditorium, he would still be correct. Alabama voters made sure of that Nov. 2, refusing to approve a constitutional amendment to erase segregation-era wording requiring separate schools for "white and colored children" and to eliminate references to the poll taxes once imposed to disenfranchise blacks.
..."There are people here who are still fighting the Civil War," said Tommy Woods, 63, a deacon at Bethel and a retired school administrator. "They're holding on to things that are long since past. It's almost like a religion."
... The amendment had two main parts: the removal of the separate-schools language and the removal of a passage -- inserted in the 1950s in an attempt to counter the Brown v. Board of Education ruling against segregated public schools -- that said Alabama's constitution does not guarantee a right to a public education. Leading opponents, such as Alabama Christian Coalition President John Giles, said they did not object to removing the passage about separate schools for "white and colored children." But, employing an argument that was ridiculed by most of the state's newspapers and by legions of legal experts, Giles and others said guaranteeing a right to a public education would have opened a door for "rogue" federal judges to order the state to raise taxes to pay for improvements in its public school system.
The argument plays to Alabama's primal fear of federal control, a fear born of years of resentment over U.S. courts' ordering the desegregation of schools and the creation of black-majority legislative districts.
"Activists on the bench know no bounds," Giles said. "It's a trial lawyer's dream."
Giles was aided by a virtually unparalleled Alabama celebrity in his battle against the amendment, distributing testimonials from former chief justice Roy Moore, whose fame was sealed in 2003 when he defied a federal court order to remove a two-ton granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. They were joined by former Moore aide Tom Parker, who handed out miniature Confederate flags this fall during his successful campaign for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.
Arguing that the amendment could lead to higher taxes is a potent strategy in Alabama, which is one of the nation's most lightly taxed states and which resoundingly rejected a record $1.2 billion tax increase proposed last year by Gov. Bob Riley (R), a conservative, to pay for school improvements and lessen the tax burden on the poor. But many blacks view the Amendment 2 opponents' tax pitch as a smoke screen.
... This is not the first time that Steele has tangled with Alabama's constitution, a gigantic document that has more than 740 amendments and more than 310,000 words, making it the world's longest, at nearly 40 times the length of the U.S. Constitution. Four years ago, voters repealed a constitutional amendment banning interracial marriage.
... Yet the constitution, with its racist past and its racist present, only grows. On Nov. 2, it was amended three times -- numbers 743, 744 and 745.
Giles has said he would support taking out the passage about separate schools for "white and colored children" as long as the part about not guaranteeing a right to an education is kept.