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The DOJ/Obama war against the states

The DOJ/Obama war against the states

The Southern states, that is. Or any other state that has the temerity to tighten up its own voting regulations in ways that would appear to make perfect sense.

A mere month ago, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that Obama and the DOJ didn’t like when the Court struck down the part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was used to identify which states were covered by that law. The president, Holder, and other Democrats have already voiced their dissatisfaction with that ruling, and now we have the administration’s tactical response:

In the coming weeks, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to announce that the Justice Department is using other sections of the Voting Rights Act to bring lawsuits or take other legal action to prevent states from implementing certain laws, including requirements to present certain kinds of identification in order to vote. The department is also expected to try to force certain states to get approval, or “pre-clearance,” before they can change their election laws.

“Even as Congress considers updates to the Voting Rights Act in light of the Court’s ruling, we plan, in the meantime, to fully utilize the law’s remaining sections to subject states to pre-clearance as necessary,” Holder said in a speech Thursday morning in Philadelphia. “My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against such discrimination wherever it is found.”

There’s this action by the DOJ as well, directed for the moment at Texas but almost certainly, if successful, to be aimed at other states trying to implement similar rules (and maybe even if not successful, in order to harass them anyway and rev up the liberal/left base):

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced on Thursday that the Justice Department would ask a court to require Texas to get permission from the federal government before making voting changes in that state for the next decade. The move opens a new chapter in the political struggle over election rules after the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act last month…

In a statement, Gov. Rick Perry cast Mr. Holder’s remarks as an attempt by the Obama administration to weaken what he called the state’s voter-integrity laws and said the comments demonstrated the administration’s “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances.”

“This end run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process,” Mr. Perry said.

Well, of course. Did anyone really think Obama and Holder would merely swallow the will of the Supreme Court, when they could get creative?

Will Obama/Holder win this battle? Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has his doubts:

Holder’s problem here, though, is that it’s the pre-clearance criteria in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down as irrational and outdated. The court left Section 5 in place, which has the enforcement mechanisms for the DoJ to use if Congress provides a rational formula for singling out states and other jurisdictions for the intrusive level of scrutiny pre-clearance imposes. However, with Section 4 invalidated, the DoJ literally has no jurisdiction at all to use Section 5 any longer anywhere, not until Congress provides it.

What Holder proposes to do is to tell Texas to get DoJ approval for its voting (and redistricting) laws before putting them in force, right after the Supreme Court told Texas and the other Section 4 states that they don’t need to do so. Holder can file a lawsuit to attempt to force compliance, but that’s just bluster. Texas isn’t going to comply, and it’s doubtful a federal court would do anything but laugh at the filing after the ruling last month. The DoJ has no more jurisdiction to tell Texas to get pre-approval for laws passed under its own sovereignty. This is grandstanding on a particularly demagogic scale.

Holder’s statement is nonsense on another level, too. The DoJ can enforce anti-discrimination laws under the Voting Rights Act, especially under Section 2 — but just like with the parts of the US that didn’t fall under Section 4 the last 50 years, the DoJ has to wait until actual discrimination takes place. That shifts the burden of proof to the DoJ to prove guilt, where it belongs, instead of onto the handful of jurisdictions to prove themselves innocent of discrimination before a law even gets applied.

Make no mistake about it, this is no side issue. It is one of the most important elements of the Obama administration’s agenda, because it affects future voting, and winning the battle would not only help the Democratic Party, but would represent an expansion of the power of the federal government to place a heavy hand on states whose actions it doesn’t like—and/or to get around SCOTUS rulings it doesn’t like.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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legacyrepublican | July 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Could a class action suit be launched by people who have moved here to Texas from other states that were not under these restrictions?

In a sense, it is telling us that we have to pay the penalty for crimes committed in our absence and then accusing us of moving here only because we are racist.

The latter would seem to me a rush to judgement.

This administration is out of control. It seems they want to throw the Constitution and Separation of Powers right out the window. Where’s the media?

“Texas isn’t going to comply, and it’s doubtful a federal court would do anything but laugh at the filing after the ruling last month.”

A federal court should do more than laugh if Holder files such a meritless suit. The court should sanction the DOJ lawyers who sign their names to the complaint, and require the DOJ to pay Texas whatever attorney fees and court costs it incurs filing an answer.

    SDN in reply to Observer. | July 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    All he has to do is find an Obama / Clinton appointee, file the lawsuit, ask for an injunction, and tie up appeals for a couple of years.

We’re all confederates now.

Some, perhaps, consider my statement that the Obami are outlaws to be mere polemics.

They are. They prove it almost daily.

This is Obamabanana Republic conduct, straight up.

NC Mountain Girl | July 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Over the years the DOJ urged many Southern cities to eliminate small, at-large city councils because they were seen as tools to deny Blacks and Hispanics representation. Three guesses what major city in the news of late has had a small, at-large city council since 1974. Yup, it’s Detroit.

How about a civil rights suit that Detroit’s at-large system deprives white residents of politial representation?

    But blacks can not be either racist or discriminate.

      Paul in reply to OldNuc. | July 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      I understand your sarcasm, but of course this is ridiculous on it’s face. Have you ever heard a group of light skin blacks talk about dark skinned blacks? Or those that are immigrants from Africa? Blacks can be just as racist as any ol’ Creepy Ass Cracker can be. And don’t get me started on Latinos and Asians. This white guilt thing is just another proggie tool for manipulation and I’m sick and tired of it.

    Milwaukee in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | July 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    One North Carolina community wanted to go that way, but the DOJ objected. Their objection was that without party affiliation the African-Americans wouldn’t know who to vote for. Straight up.

The Voting Rights Act was ALWAYS unconstitutional. Everyone turned a blind eye because it was needed to clean up voting in the South. However, the Northern States were excluded from act because the Democrats never wanted the Feds to examine the widespread corruption that was taking place there.

How does America get “justice” when the head of “justice” is a RACIST CRIMINAL ?

I am so sick of the continued effrontery demonstrated by this administration. These people won’t be happy until they’ve obliterated any vestige of the principles on which this nation was founded.

I’d like to tell them where to put their fundamental change.

I’m just a dumb, knuckle draggin’, well educated Ol’White Coot Neoconservative T-Rex…So, that said, I JUST DON’T F***ING GET IT, that requiring valid current ID at a voting place is in ANY F***ing WAY discriminatory. How, in the name of all that is sane, is that(EEeeeekK..!!)”Voter Suppression”?! How do these race hustling-lefty crooks have the remotest leg to stand on?

God, I’m sick and tired of Victimhood.

    Paul in reply to NeoConScum. | July 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Dontcha see? Poor little ol’ black granny is just too darn dumb, and poor and helpless to get her a free ID from the state!

Maybe the front needs to be broadened. Go back to requiring a certain number of days of residency before being allowed to register, and require registration a fixed number of days before an election. Then restrict absentee balloting and totally eliminate early voting. Perhaps even eliminate mailing ballots to voters, or at least require individuals to request a ballot be mailed to them for each election. Once you are on the list it seems you are on the list in perpetuity.

It’s more than that. This Administration is using immigration to change the electorate and the urban areas to change the political balance of power within states. Even though Texas is Red, its urban areas are not and both Dallas and Houston are involved with the Global Cities Initiative and regional planning. Don’t get me started on Austin’s role or the Alliance Network spun out of Saul Alinsky’s IAF to use the schools to organize students and parents in the urban areas.

Holder is trying to buy time until the urban areas can outvote the rest of the state.

What do you wanna bet that the Community Relations Service of the DOJ is in Texas right now, as we speak, ginning up the mob? That chick from Austin probably already has a sign made up about being “racist & proud”!

I don’t think that Greg Abott, (TX AG), will take this laying down. At least if he wants a chance at becoming governor..

[…] DOJ War Against the States – Neo-neocon, L.I. […]

Obama’s pick of Holder as Attorney General was like putting himself there. The two are ideological comrades in arms. And to question anything Holder does is obviously racist so no one is really going to be able to stop the Obama/Holder DOJ. 2016 cannot get here fast enough.