What do the George Zimmerman trial and the Voting Rights Act have in common? Both hinge on proving intent. This week, we heard from Juror B29, the lone minority juror who expressed her frustration and guilt in not being able to prove what was in Zimmerman’s head and heart. She said, “George Zimmerman got away with murder.” Maddy, a nurse’s assistant and mother of eight, says she fought until the end to prove that Zimmerman was legally guilty, but the evidence presented to her and the implications of Florida law forced her to acquit.
On Thursday, in front of the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will ask the federal court in Texas to institute Section 5 preclearance requirements in Texas. Section 4, which included the formula for determining which states were previously covered under preclearance, was struck down earlier this summer by the Supreme Court, but Section 3 still remains. Section 3 allows states that have escaped the Section 4 preclearance formula to be “bailed in” if a change in the state’s voting laws were made to specifically discriminate against a certain race. Just like Juror B29 had to be shown proof of George Zimmerman’s intent, the federal government must prove discriminatory intent on behalf of the state in order to use Section 3, a feat not easily accomplished.
On Saturday’s show, our host Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel will discuss the simple strategies available to the Justice Department to make Section 3 a more effective and feasible option in fighting voter suppression.
Another day, another sex scandal…or same sex scandal, new guy: Carlos Danger. You weren’t having déjà vu this week when you saw disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner discussing the latest in his twitter tryst. The mayoral candidate admitted to having online relationships with three women after resigning from office using the alias “Carlos Danger.” But should any of this matter? Harris-Perry will be joined by The Nation.com editor Richard Kim, POLITICO’s Rebecca Sinderbrand, and Rev. Paul Raushenbush, the Senior Religion Editor at The Huffington Post, to discuss the real issue that Anthony Weiner shouldn’t be running for mayor: his abysmal political record.
Pope Francis has only held his title for about four months but he has wasted no time altering the institution in the vein of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. He has traded the traditional regal wares for simple white vestments and during his trip to Brazil this week he ditched the Pope Mobile, opting to ride in an open car with no boundaries between him and the people. He is also challenging the church and its followers to aggressively focus on the global epidemic of poverty, a cause that on our side of the Atlantic has become the calling card of progressives. On Saturday, Harris-Perry will discuss the people’s Pope and this new chapter in the Catholic Church as well as the rise of the religious left who are moving to align government with progressive religion and morals.
Author and spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant is back in #nerdland to discuss her new special on OWN, and to discuss further implications of the George Zimmerman verdict–specifically Sybrina Fulton’s remarks Friday to the Urban League about her son, Trayvon Martin, and focusing on the importance of empowering African-American daughters and those who mother them.