(Feb. 3) The new law in New York City allowing noncitizens to vote is not merely a logical absurdity and an affront to citizenship itself — it also appears to be racist.

That is the contention, both practical and legal, of a lawsuit against the new ordinance filed Feb. 2 by four black New York citizens. The lawsuit’s contentions are far from implausible. And the suit provides a well-merited comeuppance for the usual purveyors of racial identity politics. It does so by destroying the offensive assumption that any skin pigment darker than pale automatically creates a political alliance.

The four black plaintiffs, whose political views appear to range all over the ideological spectrum, argue that the ordinance violates the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (It arguably violates several federal and New York state legal provisions as well, but they aren’t the major focus of this suit.) The amendment’s main clause says simply 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.”

The suit notes, indisputably, that the ordinance allowing noncitizens (the vast majority of whom are nonblack) to vote will dilute or “abridge” the voting power of black New York citizens as a class. This, the lawsuit says, is both the practical effect and the deliberate intent of the ordinance’s sponsors.

City Council ordinance sponsor Ydanis Rodriguez made the racial intent clear numerous times during debate over the bill, speaking in Spanish while specifically saying the new law would increase the power of Hispanics and Asians. And, quite explicitly: “This city has changed the color of the skin of people coming to this city, then we change it who will be voting in this city.”…

[The full column is here.]


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