Mr. Thackeray’s letter to the editor dated Sept. 20 was very thought provoking. He opines that banning people who have been convicted of felonies from voting is unjust and those laws and supporting court decisions should be overturned. It is encouraging to see that people want to challenge the concept of established precedent when they feel a basic right has been violated. (The definition of precedent is standing by that which is decided.) Following precedent is meant to help society by providing some consistency and predictability to the way that the court will decide cases. Certain decisions, however, should be challenged so that bad judgements can be overturned.
One of the two best-known examples of bad precedent can be found in the 1896 decision, Plessy v. Ferguson. The decision in Plessy upheld the legality of segregating public places including schools. This unjust precedent was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court (9-0) in the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education.
The decision of whether or not to challenge a bad court decision up to and including the United States Supreme Court should never be held hostage to the status quo of precedent.
His letter does beg one question: If these banished voters were more inclined to cast ballots in opposition to Mr. Thackeray’s positions and candidates, would he still be crusading for their right to vote?
As for Al Gore losing in 2000, since he could not win his own home state where they knew him best, perhaps it truly was not meant to be.