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Journal of No. 118


June 25th, 2013

Examples from the dissent in the Voting Rights Act case @ 10:30 am


While I'd like to be optimistic about the (effective) removal of the preclearance requirement of the VRA, the examples of relatively recent naughtiness pointed out in Ginsburg's dissent are not very encouraging (refs removed):

In 1995, Mississippi sought to reenact a dual voter registration system, “which was initially enacted in 1892 to disenfranchise Black voters,” and for that reason, was struck down by a federal court in 1987.

Following the 2000 census, the City of Albany, Georgia, proposed a redistricting plan that DOJ found to be “designed with the purpose to limit and retrogress the increased black voting strength . . . in the city as a whole.”

In 2001, the mayor and all-white five-member Board of Aldermen of Kilmichael, Mississippi, abruptly canceled the town’s election after “an unprecedented number” of African-American candidates announced they were running for office. DOJ required an election, and the town elected itsfirst black mayor and three black aldermen.

In 2006, this Court found that Texas’ attempt to redraw a congressional district to reduce the strength of Latino voters bore “the mark of intentional discrimination that could give rise to an equal protection violation,” and ordered the district redrawn in compliance with the VRA. ... In response, Texas sought to undermine this Court’s order by curtailing early voting in the district, but was blocked by an action to enforce the §5 preclearance requirement.

In 2003, after African-Americans won a majority of the seats on the school board for the first time in history, Charleston County, South Carolina, proposed an at-large voting mechanism for the board. The proposal, made without consulting any of the African-American members of the school board, was found to be an “‘exact replica’” of an earlier voting scheme that, a federal court had determined, violated the VRA.

In 1993, the City of Millen, Georgia, proposed to delay the election in a majority-black district by two years, leaving that district without representation on the city council while the neighboring majority white district would have three representatives. DOJ blocked the proposal. The county then sought to move a polling place from a predominantly black neighborhood in the city to an inaccessible location in a predominantly white neighborhood outside city limits.

In 2004, Waller County, Texas, threatened to prosecute two black students after they announced their intention to run for office. The county then attempted to reduce the availability of early voting in that election at polling places near a historically black university.


In principle, I guess Congress could come up with a new criterion for picking places that need to have continued preclearance oversight (not a bad idea) but I'm guessing that's not gonna happen (a bad idea).
 
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Journal of No. 118