Zach Roth @MSNBC Turns to Gerry Hebert for Grumbles

What a strange confluence over at MNSBC. Zachary Roth includes a quote from Gerry Hebert grumbling about a lack of action by DOJ on voting rights. Hebert wants DOJ to badger localities like Galveston Texas. This is ironic on a number of levels.

One ironic part is that some folks at DOJ have plenty of grumbles about Gerry Hebert. Perhaps it is too inside baseball, but one of the big fissures in Voting-land is between Hebert and existing managers in the Voting Section. Suffice to say that Zachary Roth is probably unaware of the longstanding clash of personalities between Hebert and those currently managing the Voting Section, despite their general alignment politically and ideologically.

The other ironic part is Hebert’s checkered history with the truth. In fact, this history has contributed to Hebert’s falling out with current management in the Voting Section. Simply, this checkered history is one of the reasons there was a falling out. What checkered history, you ask? Here’s just one of multiple examples. But I’m sure this doesn’t matter to Zachary Roth. Ideological correctness is more important that reputation for veracity.  We’ll post more if we get any response questioning the conclusion, something I suspect we will not, because everyone involved knows there is more.  A snip:

Not only did Hebert lose, but Justice was castigated by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Jones, 125 F.3d 1418 (1997), for what it concluded was “a very troubling case.” (Hebert is listed as the Justice counsel of record in the district court opinion, U.S. v. Jones, 846 F.Supp. 955 (1994)). According to the 11th Circuit:

“A properly conducted investigation would have quickly revealed that there was no basis for the claim that the Defendants were guilty of purposeful discrimination against black voters…Unfortunately, we cannot restore the reputation of the persons wrongfully branded by the United States as public officials who deliberately deprived their fellow citizens of their voting rights. We also lack the power to remedy the damage done to race relations in Dallas County by the unfounded accusations of purposeful discrimination made by the United States.

The final irony in quoting Hebert agitating for litigation is that it would upset the current model of DOJ enforcement of voting laws.  Under the Bush administration, the Voting Section wasn’t afraid of hard tough litigation against localities: Euclid, Lake Park, Osceola, and others.   There wasn’t much glory, but the cases resulted in minority representation.  Under Holder, the Voting Section has barely brought any litigation, and when it does, it is aimed at headlines. The Voting Section avoids tough slogs.  It steps in as amicus or interested parties after someone else has done the heavy lifting like the NAACP.  Under the Bush administration, the Voting Section did the heavy  lifting. Under Obama, it’s all about perceptions and faculty lounge agendas.  So Roth turning to Hebert exposes a methodological shortcoming of the Holder DOJ, notwithstanding the bitterness between personalities of the parties.  This DOJ won’t sue Galveston because it is afraid to sue localities.  It’s after bigger, cheaper, lower risk fish.

The Holder DOJ goes after targets that even when the DOJ loses, the DOJ and the DNC win.  Exhibit South Carolina.  DOJ lost the Voter ID fight, but mobilized a base ahead of the 2012 Presidential election.  Suing Galveston Texas has no political payoff.  If the DOJ lost, it would be a real loss.  The current DOJ only pursues headline grabbing win–win voter mobilization cases.

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