Yesterday five justices of the Supreme Court enshrined the southern strategy of the Republican Party into the Constitution of the United States. In so doing they vacated the court’s six-decade history as the protector of civil rights and social justice. In 1954, a Republican chief justice, Earl Warren, writing for a unanimous court in Brown v. Board of Education, declared segregated schools unconstitutional, a decision that changed America. Yesterday, another Republican chief justice, John Roberts, writing for a sharply divided court in Shelby County v. Holder, announced that the 1965 Voting Rights Act was no longer needed, at least in its current form. Certainly there have been improvements, and as Roberts noted, Philadelphia, Mississippi, and Selma, Alabama, both murderous places in the 1960s, now have black mayors. But in 2006, Congress, by a combined vote of 488-33, renewed the act until 2031, and recently we have witnessed a series of efforts, ranging from voter-identification laws to gerrymandering, aimed at suppressing minority voters. It’s that history the court majority ignored. Another movement emerged from the civil rights era, one that transformed the GOP from the party that enfranchised black voters to one that received 6% of the black vote in 2012, making it perhaps the most segregated institution in the United States. This is not a coincidence. From Strom Thurmond’s switch to the party in opposition to the Civil Rights Act in 1964 to Nixon’s southern strategy to Reagan’s “welfare queens,” Republicans have consciously sought to divide the country for political gain. The legacy of Lincoln is no more.