Attorney General Merrick Garland has filed a suit against the State of Texas – arguing that the new redistricting map is prejudicial against minorities. While the suit is not frivolous, it is more symbolic and political than substantive and meritorious. As a shrewd lawyer and former federal judge, Garland probably knows as much. While nothing in life is one hundred percent certain, the odds that the Department of Justice suit will ultimately prevail is very, very slim.
To fully understand what is going on, we must travel way back to 1965. That is when Congress passed the Republican-sponsored Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was crafted to specifically end the unfair and unconstitutional voting practices of the Democrat-controlled southern states – almost 100 years after the Constitution was amended to guarantee the voting rights of former slave and black folks in general.
For more than 40 years, the Act gave the federal government oversight rights in the states of the old Confederacy. The affected states were required to submit their redistricting maps to the federal government for approval.
The Act was never intended to be a permanent requirement – but to only be in place until the states demonstrated a fairness in managing elections. The racist election practices eventually ebbed – which coincided with the rise of Republican leadership in Dixie. One of the most significant facts that led to the end of federal supervision was the continuing rise of black voting.
The Act went up before the Supreme Court in 2013 – with President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder arguing for the retention of the restrictions. The high Court struck it down as violating equality under the law – cutting out a handful of states for enforcement was unfair.
Democrats have been attempting to re-legislate the issue with a new so-called Voting Rights law. In the meantime, Garland is attempting to do an end run around the Court and the Constitution by filing a case claiming the new Texas map oppresses minority voting rights.
The rationale for the current congressional effort to usurp the states’ constitutional right is weakened by the fact that blacks have been voting in record numbers and proportions in the vary places Democrats claim the oppression exists.
To prevail, Garland will have to eventually win in three federal courts – the District Court, the Appellate Court and the Supreme Court.
It is impossible to determine the odds of Garland winning at the District and Appellate levels, but it would be a safe bet that the Supreme Court would most likely decide against the Garland lawsuit. The current court tends to decide in favor of states managing their own elections as the Constitution articulates.
So, why would Garland put the Department of Justice behind a loser. There is always the possibility that he thinks he can win the judicial trifecta. But maybe it is merely to keep the issue in the media during the 2022 election season even though the case is not likely to make it to the Supreme Court before Election Day 2022.
Perhaps the purpose is to build public support for the bill in Congress. While the lawsuit is likely to be well received and favorably reported by the left-leaning news media, the current voting rights bill that has passed the House is basically dead-on-arrival in the Senate.
In other words, for the next several months the Siamese policy twins of the legislation in Congress and the DOJ lawsuit in the federal courts will cause a lot of “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
So, there ‘tis.