On the battle over the government shutdown, the Obama administration narrative continues to be that Republicans shut down the government because they didn’t get their way on Obamacare.
There may be some truth to that, but if so, Republicans don’t have the market cornered on playing hardball for do-overs on public policy.
President Obama and his surrogates continue to repeat that narrative at every opportunity. Clearly, the Obama administration doesn’t see the parallel between GOP actions on Obamacare and the very same tactics on the part of the Obama administration’s U.S. Justice Department on the issue of voter ID and the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act.
The argument that Voter ID equates with voter suppression is bogus and the majority of the Supreme Court has ruled that Section 5 unfairly discriminates against a region of the country.
On the topic of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been downright defiant in protecting the institutionalization of laws from the 1960s that profile Southern states as racist havens of voter discrimination. First came litigation in Texas and now Holder is taking North Carolina to court to argue that new elections laws there are intentionally discriminatory and that Section 3 of the VRA would make the state subject to Justice Department preclearance as Section 5 did.
Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act established nine states that were declared “covered jurisdictions” under the new laws. States included in the “covered jurisdiction” by the Voting Rights Act include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Even after the Supreme Court ruled that Section 5 was unconstitutional on that basis, Holder not only decried the ruling and called for the need for two sets of elections laws – one for the covered jurisdictions and another for the rest of the country – he vowed to pursue a campaign of lawsuits in the covered jurisdiction states to keep preclearance in place by arguing “intentional discrimination.”
That legal strategy is based on attacking states or jurisdictions for their history.
Trying to institutionalize Section 5’s inherent mistrust of voters and governments in the South to protect voting rights and hold fair elections is nothing short of racial and political profiling.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has declared his intention to move forward with the Voter ID law approved overwhelmingly by Mississippi voters.
Hosemann argues that Mississippi’s law is different those being challenged in North Carolina and Texas. But many expect federal litigation in Mississippi as well.
Exactly how Republicans trying to re-litigate Obamacare differs from the Obama administration’s efforts to re-litigate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is a mystery.
Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at (601) 507-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.