Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Holder Saves An Oppressed Minority

Having gotten all of America’s other legal problems firmly taken care of (including Fast and Furious), Attorney General Eric Holder has moved on to fixing one of the most egregious civil rights violations in all of American history. Holder saw the horrendous wrong in requiring valid photo ID in order to vote, and is using his executive powers to block the current Texas law.

The Texas law is almost identical to photo ID laws which have been upheld in other states. But Holder has a slight advantage in the Texas matter. Texas is among those states directly impacted by the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) designed to end discrimination against black voters in the formerly segregated South. Any change to voting rules, regulations, and even districting must be first approved by the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s office. The consent decree did not include any northern state which did not have a record of de jure and de facto discrimination against blacks.

Holder only cares about pandering to Hispanic votes at election time, while exhibiting benign neglect the rest of the time. But it is election time, and Texas has a lot of Hispanic votes to pander to. Blacks in Texas are registered to vote and have valid photo ID at nearly the same rate as whites, so Holder needed a different stalking horse to misuse the Voting Rights Act for his own nefarious purposes.

Therefore, Holder’s surrogate at the Justice Department, Tom Perez, sent a six page demand letter to the Texas Director of Elections informing him that “Texas has not sustained its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to show that the new law will not have a discriminatory effect on minority (in this case, read “Hispanic”) voters." Now if that burden of proof sounds backwards, it is. And here’s why.

Under regular rules, the Attorney General would have the burden of proof to show that there is intentional discrimination rather than the state proving there is not. But the VRA and the consent decree turn the burden of proof on its head. There is good reason why the Democrats have managed to extend the Act multiple times rather than let it die a natural death some time in the late 80s or early 90s. It prevents logical redistricting based on current realities rather than 60s realities, and it prevents conscientious elections boards from verifying their voting rolls and preventing voter fraud.

Holder and his legal storm troopers based their ridiculous decision on one lousy set of statistics. An estimated 11% of Hispanics in Texas do not have state-issued photo ID. And of the total estimated three-quarters of a million eligible Texas voters who don’t have state-issued photo ID, the estimates also show that somewhere between 29% and 38% are Hispanic. Well, so what? Upsetting a reasonable state law using estimates of estimates is hardly sound legal reasoning.

In his letter to the Director, Perez also wrote: “While the state law says the new photo ID requirement is to ensure electoral integrity and deter ineligible voters from voting, the state did not include evidence of significant in-person voter impersonation not already addressed by existing state law.” Since when does the federal government object to “redundant” legislation? God knows, during the Obama administration multiple redundant and even self-contradictory laws have been passed. Furthermore, where is the rule that says that the Attorney General can substitute his wisdom for that of the state? Even the consent decree doesn't distort burden of proof that much.

The state actually did conduct extensive investigations into voter fraud, and found that there was a sufficient number to justify the new law. On the other hand, Perez’s statement is what lawyers call a “naked allegation” without supporting evidence. Should we not have laws against violent murders because they are somewhat rare? And how does Holder explain the ACORN and SEIU investigations which showed thousands of attempts to register dead people, people who don't exist, people in more than one precinct, and cartoon characters? Next to the right to live, the right to protect the sanctity of the ballot box stands out as nearly equal in importance in a free, self-governing society.

Because of the consent decree, Holder felt safe about not proving that there was any actual discrimination, and if there was, that it was intentional. Concurrence is not causation, and the fact that an unusually large percentage of the population lacking state-issued photo ID is Hispanic is not in any way proof that the state legislature was targeting Hispanics and only Hispanics for “voter suppression.” Furthermore, Texas is among the states which make obtaining state-issued photo ID easy and cheap (free, if necessary). The only group that the law discriminates against is those too lazy or too devious to obtain one of those ID’s.

Perez didn’t even bother with the argument about “poor people,” or the elderly, or even other “oppressed minorities.” That wouldn’t gain Obama any votes in Texas. But striking down a law that is disingenuously described as anti-Hispanic is top-notch demagoguery.

The Holder/Obama decision to interfere with the Texas law demonstrates just how low this race-baiting administration will go to use the law to perpetuate racial and ethnic division at the expense of the Constitution and the integrity of the voting booth. Equally importantly, it demonstrates just how much harm a once-good law can do when it is extended well beyond its useful and realistic life.

Except for the sole guiding principle of guaranteeing the right of American citizens to vote in a fair and honest election, the entirety of the 1965 Voting Rights Act should be repealed. Thinking people have known that for over two decades, but Congress just keeps extending it. Democrats claim to be “progressive,” but in fact they are still living their imaginary lives back in their heydays of the 60s.

23 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Any chance that this oppression could be lifted for the fall elections?

BevfromNYC said...

This is on top of a very bitter redistricting fight that went to the SC. Texas is getting 4 new Congressional districts from the last census and the Dems wanted to stack the deck. And as you pointed out, they can't use the "too expensive" meme because Texas will give ID for free. But as we know, one of the reasons that many people in Texas don't want to have to have ID is because they'd have to prove they were citizens first.

The same redistricting is happening in reverse in NY. We lost two and, because no one can decide what to do, we will to have a second primary for our congressional elections later this year. But fortunately we are Yankee state and do not have to get permission from the Feds in perpetuity to do this.

Tennessee Jed said...

When did sound legal reasoning ever get in the way of Eric Holder's justice department? He is merely practicing the legal doctrine of Barrack Obama's Harvard mentors. I would love it if somebody had the information to vet every liberal talking head who goes on television and proclaims "several studies have proven or shown that voter fraud as never been a problem in this country in this country." The only one who I've ever seen even mention a study was a blonde liberal professor at a southern California who used to go on the O'Reilly show. It was from some California College so my guss is they decided on the result (little or no fraud) then rigged the data to support that finding. However, since I have no way of getting hold of that or other so-called studies, I can assume they are manufactured of whole cloth, but never able to disprove the assertion. That is what these people bank on. Most people don't have the time or resources to call them out on it.

Joel Farnham said...

I blame this on Critical Race Theory.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: It will take some fancy legal maneuvering, but it is possible. The state has already appealed to a three-judge federal panel to review the DOJ's decision.

AndrewPrice said...

The very argument that it's somehow improper to demand that people show less ID than is required to do anything -- open a bank account, get a drivers license, use a check, etc... is just mind-boggling.

LawHawkRFD said...

Be: These VRA decisions have been horrendous. In one case in another southern state, the DOJ nixed a change from partisan to non-partisan local and county elections. The districts affected are majority black, the only criterion the DOJ is supposed to be concerned with. It is supposed to be monitoring voter suppression of blacks (and other minorities), not political matters. But by making the districts non-partisan, it cut the power of the Democratic Party, and the DOJ wasn't just about to allow that.

Without the VRA to use as a sledgehammer, the DOJ has a tougher time controlling voter registration and redistricting, but that doesn't mean they won't try.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I know that USC law professor and former Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich has been purveying that nonsense for some time, occasionally on Fox shows. The advantage the DOJ has in these cases in the South is that the state is required to prove something that hasn't happened as opposed to the feds proving something that has happened. This administration is more concerned with nonexistent voter discrimination in the South than it is with actual voter intimidation in the North (viz.the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia).

tryanmax said...

Excellent closing line! And they say conservatives are the ones who fear change. Everything liberal, from antiquated civil rights legislation to the EPA is about maintaining some unnatural stasis that has been deemed "ideal."

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: That is certainly a major part of Holder's and Obama's thinking. I haven't written much on the current flap about Obama and the radical black law school professors for a good reason. Every time I try, I get so angry I have to walk away from it. The Civil Rights movement isn't an abstract idea I read about in a book. I was right in the middle of it. To have some race-baiter use his legal pulpit to claim that I and thousands of white civil rights advocates like me either had a hidden agenda, or the antisemitic claim that we were manipulated by Jewish financial interests is an insult and a lie that I take very personally. Having that prissy, amateurish, empty suit in the White House praise those loathsome creatures is simply throwing salt on a wound for me. I'm going to have to leave that discussion to others, since I tend to break into monosyllabic gutter language when I try to discuss it. On the other hand, God help anyone who dares to spout this vile nonsense to my face.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: Thanks. The leftists who now entirely control the Democratic Party have split personalities. They continue to try to solve past political and social problems that have long since changed completely while at the same time trying to envision a future where progressive thought will have eliminated all human foibles. It's utopian, it's unrealistic, it's delusional, and it's just plain stupid.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: And I would just add that if you want to enter the holy office building where Holder performs his black magic (sorry), you will be required to show a valid photo ID before entering.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I had one of those fumble-finger moments while replying to you. Obviously, the note to "Be" was meant to be to "Bev."

StanH said...

Now guys you know that Barry, knows best. If they have to lie, cheat, or steal, it’s okay because it’s for the children, and you know the only reason evil Republicans want people to follow the law is because they’re racist. I mean, how can we turn America into Detroit if people follow the rules. So back off, Eric’s doing the Lords work.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I see you've read Rules for Radicals. Thank you for sharing. LOL

rlaWTX said...

I remember that several years ago there was an attempt in Congress to not re-up some parts of the VRA because there was proof (that word, hmmm?) that the provisions weren't necessary any longer. Holy hell rained down from the left, and I think it got renewed in full instead of altered (Correct me if I'm wrong) regardless of the evidence.

Ted Cruz is drawing attention this issue on fb (he's running for Senate against the Lt Gov).

Idiocy.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Good for Ted Cruz! The VRA has long since ceased to serve a purpose, and is turning out to be a repeat of Reconstruction, with Obama and Holder as the chief carpetbaggers. There was some minor tinkering around the edges a couple of times, but for all intents and purposes, the VRA (and the consent decree) has remained unaltered.

Jocelyn said...

Thanks for the article LawHawk. I actually read about this yesterday on Newsmax.com and was so confused by the article. As I didn't think it was illegal to show proof of citizenship. But I was unaware the Texas has this VRA. Although still backwards at least it clarifies it a little better (though not really all at the same time).

Writer X said...

If I had to tell you the amount of personal information and personal proof I had to provide to our local phone company to get my Dad's phone cancelled after he passed away, it would make your hair stand on end. A damn photo is too difficult to provide in order to vote?!

LawHawkRFD said...

Jocelyn: It can be confusing. The law and the consent decree actually did make sense at one time, since many of the Southern states had decades to find ways to prevent blacks from voting. It was a given that they would try to continue the pattern, so the VRA gave the Justice Department some extra leeway to make it more difficult to avoid enforcement of the law. But even at the creation of the VRA, it was always intended to expire at some future date when voter discrimination as a routine matter was no longer routine. Then, the burden of proof was supposed to shift back to the prosecutors to prove actual discrimination. That time expired at least two decades ago. But Congress does what Congress does--once a law is in place, you play hell getting rid of it, particularly when politicians have figured out how to make it work for their political purposes rather than for the public good.

LawHawkRFD said...

WriterX: I think that things like that are far more common experiences than any of us would like to believe. In order to avoid complications, almost all of us who have nothing (or at least little) to hide have solid ID for even daily activities. The right to vote is so important, and the protection of the integrity of the ballot so vital, that a solid ID should be at least as important as it is for renting a DVD or writing a check.

Individualist said...

A photo ID is hard to come by LAwhawk. Why, to get one you have to prove you are a citizen or a legal resident. And you have to be able to show you are alive.

How can we possibly demand that...

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: Somebody forgot to tell that to the California DMV, which will accept almost any document, no matter how strange, to issue a driver's license. Then, after you've gotten your photo ID, you go back to the same DMV and register to vote. OK, it's not quite that easy, but it's close. As for being alive, those who oppose the ID law are clearly brain-dead.

You and I are being ironic with our comments, but most of the supporters of Holder actually believe the bullcrap they're passing around.

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