The easier it is for a covered jurisdiction to escape from the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act—Section 5—via a “bailout,” the less onerous Section 5 would appear to be. In order to bolster Section 5 against the constitutional challenge pending against it in the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, the Department of Justice is illegally supporting legally deficient bailout requests by two townships and eight towns in New Hampshire and by California’s Merced County—and even making false representations in court. That’s what Hans von Spakovsky (in an NRO essay today) and J. Christian Adams (in a PJ Media essay yesterday) persuasively spell out, based in part on access to internal DOJ memos.
As von Spakovsky sums it up, “The Justice Department is trying to create evidence that it can use in its effort to manipulate the Supreme Court in the Shelby case.”
If a Republican administration did something comparable to what von Spakovsky and Adams document, it would be a national scandal, with lots of front-page newspaper coverage.
If there’s a defense for DOJ’s conduct, I’d be eager to hear it.