Skip to comments.Another Embarrassment for the Holder DOJ
Posted on 09/16/2010 2:42:19 PM PDT by jazusamo
The Obama Justice Department just got slapped down in a lawsuit filed by Shelby County, Alabama, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 is the original emergency provision passed in 1965 that required certain states to get preapproval from the federal government for all voting changes, no matter how minor. After 40 years of extensions, Congress renewed this supposedly temporary provision in 2006 for another 25 years.
Shelby County sued Eric Holder, saying that todays vastly improved conditions no longer warrant such extraordinary intrusion into local sovereignty over elections and voting, and that Congress did not have a legislative record of ongoing and systematic discrimination that would warrant renewal of this law. Worse, the main use to which the federal government puts Section 5 today is to coerce racial gerrymandering, a practice both unconstitutional and at odds with the original ideals of the civil-rights movement. Shelby County filed a motion for summary judgment shortly after filing its lawsuit, since its facial challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 is a legal dispute, not a factual one, and no discovery is needed.
In its apparent desperation to delay a constitutional challenge to a portion of the Voting Rights Act, the now infamous Civil Rights Division opposed the motion for summary judgment, making three absurd arguments. The Division claimed it needed a long period of discovery to 1) determine whether Shelby County has standing to file suit; 2) explore whether Shelby could bail out (thus avoiding the constitutional question); and 3) gather information about the VRAs constitutionality.
Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia federal district court gave short shrift to all of the Divisions arguments in an order issued today. The judge was obviously flabbergasted that the DOJ would argue that a county covered by the mandates of this federal law would lack standing: At oral argument, the government was unable to articulate any reason why a covered jurisdiction subject to Section 5s preclearance requirement such as Shelby County would lack standing to bring this type of action.
The government was also forced to admit that Shelby County was not seeking bailout, so obviously there was no need for discovery on this issue. Again, the judge seemed amazed that the Division had raised such a nonsensical argument: The government agreed at oral argument that neither it nor this Court could force Shelby County to accept bailout.
Finally, Judge Bates concluded that the governments claim that it needed discovery on the issue of constitutionality was unwarranted. The courts analysis in a facial challenge to the constitutionality of congressional legislation is limited to the actual evidence Congress considered when it passed the legislation. When the judge asked the government at oral argument to identify a single case that held to the contrary, the Divisions lawyers were unable to do so.
What this means is the case will go straight to a legal fight over whether it was constitutional to renew Section 5 in 2006. The almost frivolous arguments raised by the Holder Justice Department to delay this case are just another example of how badly (and unprofessionally) that Department is being run.
Holder needs to go along with many of he and Obama's thug appointees.
This record defies the laws of chance ~ there should have been at least one competent person but yet there are none.
Isn’t it the truth! You’d think by sheer numbers he’d accidentally nominate a competent person. I honestly believe it’s because these type people reflect his warped view of the “change’ he envisions.
I thought they were all academics?
Bunch of teachers who were too stupid to make it in the real world say with a business of their own. So like waaay too many “teachers” they suck the teet that is the public trough.
Good point...Most are performing like academics out of the ivied environment who haven’t a clue.
If we want anything from you, we'll tax it away." - Eric Holder channeling Baraq Soetoro.
What makes you think that the Holder DoJ is capable of embarrassment or shame?
Playing games with "standing" is the stock and trade of judicial partiality, as well as a handy dandy stalling tactic. If standing is granted they'll file and appeal. It will go on and on... oh hell, it could be 25 years!
Gee, that number rings a bell. Wasn't that Sandra Day O'Connor's bogus extension of affirmative action? Well, at least we know how far out those incredible moving goal posts really are.
I’m sure he’s high on Cong Darrell Issa’s list of peeps to investigate in January.
This brings up an excellent point. I was disappointed in the ruling of SCOTUS in the Danbury(?) Connecticut firefighters' case where the court held that the white men had been unconstitutionally discriminated against. The result seemed right, but the logic could have been far more straightforward. SCOTUS should have held, and should hold in this case, that a country which can elect a black to the presidency is a country in which evidence of current racism is gloriously weak.
SCOTUS should simply declare, "The future is now," and overturn all the "reverse" racism in US law and precedent in a single stroke.
Well said, but can you imagine the outrage from a large group of entitlement minorities if that actually happened? :)
That's so manifestly preposterous I'm surprised the judge didn't rule the government's lawyers in contempt for daring to bring such an idiotic argument before the court.
I don't think the target particularly cares how long things get delayed.
This is as bad as chasing a young thug down an alley as he knocks over garbage cans to slow you down. It is Chicago after all.
“This record defies the laws of chance ~ there should have been at least one competent person but yet there are none.”
It is not chance.
The exploding heads would be a sight, wouldn't they!
You’re right, after the 1st time that isn’t chance either.