The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

In the weeks since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in Texas and North Carolina have demonstrated exactly why the law, which requires “pre-clearance” of new election laws in specific states and counties that have historically discriminated against minority voters, is so necessary.

On the day the decision in Shelby v. Holder struck down Section 4 of the law — making the “pre-clearance” requirements of Section 5 useless — Texas attorney general Greg Abbott announced that he would move forward on actions that had previously been held up by the federal government.

“With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Abbott said. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

North Carolina Republicans topped off a season of passing some of the most extreme laws in the country with a voter suppression bill that The Nation‘s Ari Berman called the “worst in the nation.”

Now the Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, has announced that they will support a lawsuit to reinstate “pre-clearance” in Texas for 10 years based on the state’s history of discrimination and the remaining sections of 1965’s Voting Rights Act. The department may also sue North Carolina if its new voter ID bill becomes law.

“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 Thursday morning. “My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against such discrimination wherever it is found.”

The DOJ was widely successful in stopping the widespread effort in Republican-controlled areas to limit voting by typically Democratic constituencies in 2012. Section 5 played a key role in its enforcement.

“Let me be clear,” Holder said. “This was a deeply disappointing and flawed decision. It dealt a serious setback to the cause of voting rights . . . And this is why protecting the fundamental right to vote — for all Americans — will continue to be a top priority for the Department of Justice so long as I have the privilege of serving as attorney general.”

Last year, a federal court found that Texas’ redistricting maps were “enacted with discriminatory purpose.”

The same week a court unanimously found that the state’s voter ID law discriminated against minorities for three reasons:

1) a substantial subgroup of Texas voters, many of whom are African American or Hispanic, lack photo ID; (2) the burdens associated with obtaining ID will weigh most heavily on the poor; and (3) racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.

It’s likely that a huge percentage of the 603,892 to 795,955 Latino voters in Texas who lacked voter ID in 2012 still do so in 2013, even though conservatives on the Supreme Court have decided that the Voting Rights Act formula that kept Texas under pre-clearance is no longer necessary.

Texas governor Rick Perry issued a statement condemning the Department of Justice’s actions.

“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,” Governor Perry said.

We’ll see if a court thinks those aspersions are so unfair.

Photo: edenpictures via Flickr.com

 

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mehmet Oz

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News is in attack mode after its own polling showed Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

The July 28 Fox News poll showed that Fetterman has an 11-point lead over Oz. Additionally, according to the poll, “just 35 percent of those backing Oz say they support him enthusiastically, while 45 percent have reservations. For Fetterman, 68 percent back him enthusiastically and only 18 percent hesitate.” These results, combined with data showing that Fetterman is outraising and outspending Oz, could spell disaster for the GOP hopeful. However, since this polling, Fox has demonstrated it’s a reliable partner to help Oz try to reset the race.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

For decades, abortion was the perfect issue for Republicans: one that they could use to energize "pro-life" voters, and one that would be around forever. What's more, they ran little risk of alienating "pro-choice" voters, who had little concern that the GOP would ever be able to repeal abortion rights.

Key to this strategy was the assumption that the Supreme Court would preserve Roe v. Wade. GOP candidates and legislators could champion the anti-abortion cause secure in the knowledge that they would not have to follow through in any major way. They could nibble away at abortion rights with waiting periods and clinic regulations, but the fundamental right endured. And their efforts were rewarded with the steadfast support of a bloc of single-issue voters.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}