Tag Archives: Voting Rights Act

Why the North Carolina voter ID case matters

By hearing North Carolina’s voter ID appeal, the Supreme Court can stop the Left’s transformation of the Voting Rights Act into a partisan political weapon.

They may never admit it, but the civil rights industry is tired of spending millions of dollars only to lose most voter ID fights in court. Instead of declaring defeat, the strategy has shifted to changing the rules of engagement, and trying to transform the Voting Rights Act into something it isn’t. . . .

 

The civil rights industry, which includes swarms of career employees in the Justice Department, has been losing voter ID fights for the better part of a decade. . . .courts have acknowledged that such laws do not target minorities and are equally applied to all. It certainly does not hurt that federal judges are aware that polling shows how voter ID is more popular among poorer minorities than wealthy liberal whites.

 

Because voter ID is overwhelmingly popular, and because courts have largely supported it, they are trying to change what the Voting Rights Act means. They are trying to transform the law away from a protecting against real world disenfranchisement, to a statistical game that aims to protect Democratic political power. If an election theoretically has a disparate impact on Democrats, then the Voting Rights Act is violated.

 

They can press this ugly transformation of America’s most important civil rights law because they have spent 30 years stoking the flames of racial polarization and trying to make “black” synonymous with “Democrat.”

In April 2016, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s 2013 omnibus election reform bill that included voter ID, but in August the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling “by substituting its own version of the facts, even though appeals courts don’t see witnesses, and even though experts for the United States were found to be not credible. This difference between two courts was because of how the Voting Rights Act was read.”

Before the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that existing federal preclearance obligations were based on outdated justifications — an action in popular press falsely branded as “gutting the Voting Rights Act” — North Carolina was held to a standard of guilty-until-proven innocent any time that it wished to change even the slightest election procedure. . . .

 

North Carolina’s election laws are no longer supposed to be judged on those unconstitutional standards, thanks to Shelby. But that didn’t stop the court of appeals from using a bold new version of the Voting Rights Act that imported those obsolete standards. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the surviving provisions, requires real world causality, where someone actually suffers electoral defeat or denial of the right to vote. The law requires a real world “totality of circumstances” inquiry, not statistical games.

 

The dispute over how to read and enforce the most critical component of the Voting Rights Act has now landed on the Supreme Court’s doorstep. The Public Interest Legal Foundation and others have submitted briefs to support North Carolina’s request for a hearing on its voter ID law. The court of appeals transformed the Voting Rights Act into something it is not. In doing so, it converted the law into a raw partisan weapon that will be used to help Democrats.

DOJ sues Detroit suburb, says city’s at-large elections violate Voting Rights Act

Another lawsuit filed under Section 2 of the not-“gutted” Voting Rights Act:

 

The Eastpointe City Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss how to respond to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed against the Detroit suburb last week that claims the city’s at-large council election system, in place since 1929, “dilutes the voting strength of black citizens, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

 

DOJ wants to split the city into four single-member districts, with one drawn to create a black-majority district. The change would require voters to approve an amendment to the city charter.

Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane, who is named in the federal lawsuit along with the council, has said the city’s black residents have not formally expressed concerns, and shifting to district voting could require spending as much as $50,000 to change polling precincts, register new voters and issue new voting cards.

But fighting the DOJ lawsuit in court could cost Eastpointe taxpayers a million dollars.

 

Reaction from residents was mixed, and council members and the city’s attorney say they want DOJ to provide more specific information about the allegations. The city has 60 days to file a response.

Judge rules Texas city’s at-large districts violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

Critics who claim that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provides voters insufficient protection are proven wrong by the ruling in this Texas city redistricting case:

“This decision shows that the Voting Rights Act is alive and well, contrary to the scare-mongering of some interest groups. When people claim that the Voting Rights Act was ‘gutted,’ the decision in the Pasadena case demonstrates they aren’t telling the truth,” J. Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation told Breitbart Texas.

The full opinion is at the link.

SCOTUS considers race, politics, and redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases centered on “an issue at the heart of race and politics: drawing legislative districts based on race.”

Black voters in Virginia and North Carolina contended that political maps illegally pack those voters into a small number of districts, eliminating African Americans’ ability to influence results in adjacent contests. Republicans lawmakers who drew the maps say they intended to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which has been read to prohibit eliminating safe districts for minority incumbents, or to harm Democrats for partisan, rather than racial, reasons.

 

While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, the Supreme Court has never held it unconstitutional to disadvantage voters for partisan reasons. Monday’s cases, as several justices remarked, were difficult to resolve partly because of the political reality that race and partisan preference are strongly aligned.

The two cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris, were argued separately but by the same attorneys: Paul Clement for Republican state officials defending their maps and Marc Elias for Democrats challenging the maps.

“It is a very tough matter,” observed Justice Stephen Breyer, summarizing the questions with which the justices were grappling today. Federal law permits (and sometimes requires) states to consider race when drawing district lines, to create legislative districts in which a majority of voters are members of a minority group, but at the same time the Constitution bars states from making race the predominant factor when drawing districts. “No one,” Breyer continued, “seems to have a good answer to” the dilemma facing the Supreme Court – how courts should determine when the use of race becomes sufficiently pervasive that it crosses over to become unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, particularly when race correlates closely with political party.

SCOTUS will have an answer, if not a good one, by summer.

“Leave the Voting Rights Act Alone”

The editors at NRO advise Congress to leave the Voting Rights Act as is – as solid as ever:

 

The bedrock of the Voting Rights Act — that no American may be prevented from voting because of his race — remains as solid as ever… The difference is that without Section 5 operational, discrimination or disparate impact must be proved in a court of law, just like complaints under any other civil-rights statute, whereas before the suspect jurisdictions would have been obliged to prove that their changes were acceptable before the fact. The previously encumbered states are no longer considered guilty until proven innocent, and Democrats want to reverse that…

 

The Democrats’ drive to “restore” the unconstitutional provisions of the Voting Rights Act would require a number of mainly Republican jurisdictions to go begging to the Justice Department every time they want to update their election practices…

 

The end of the preclearance regime is in harmony with the progress we have made. With the current majorities in Congress, Republicans are empowered to do nothing in this matter, and to see to it that nothing is done. The Voting Rights Act is fine as it is.    

“Goodlatte: Voting Rights Act remains strong without amendment”

“The congressman affirmed his opposition to those who say the law is now insufficient.”

 

“The fact of the matter is we have a Voting Rights Act; it is very strong,” [U.S. Rep. Bob] Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, said… “There are still strong protections under the Voting Rights Act, including the ability of a judge to order that a community or even a whole state be placed under the preclearance requirements if there are new evidences of discrimination,” he said.