James Clyburn Asks DOJ To Intervene & Stop GOP Voter Suppression

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Recently, dozens of members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S. House signed onto a joint letter calling for more determined Justice Department action to protect the right to vote across the United States. Federal authorities have brought some litigation over voting rights issues, but there’s a clear opening to launch more, with well over a dozen and a half states having recently put suppressive restrictions around elections newly in place. On MSNBC, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who was one of those on the joint letter, spoke about the push, outlining just how critically important that it is for those with an opportunity to make an impact to act. As Clyburn pointedly explained things:

‘This issue gets to the core of what it is to be African-American in America. We know what the history is… and we have been in pursuit of the more perfect union for a long, long time. And it seems to be stalling out. And we think that Congress can do a lot of things, but we have to depend upon the Justice Department to enforce the law.’

Clyburn cited a specific example of where he’d push for Justice Department involvement: the ongoing court battle over Congressional district lines in Alabama. A federal court struck down a GOP-backed map for the state, concluding that it unfairly impeded the abilities of Black voters to substantively make their voices heard. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, Black residents comprise over one-fourth of Alabama’s population, but the GOP map put just one out of Alabama’s seven Congressional districts in the hands of a Black majority. The U.S. Supreme Court recently put that Alabama ruling on hold, allowing for the map to stand as further litigation unfolds — and threatening voting rights in the process.

As liberal Justice Elena Kagan observed in her dissenting opinion on the matter, the U.S. Supreme Court’s initial decision (which didn’t come after an ordinary hearing process) “does a disservice to our own appellate processes, which serve both to constrain and to legitimate the Court’s authority… does a disservice to the District Court, which meticulously applied this Court’s longstanding voting-rights precedent. And most of all, it does a disservice to Black Alabamians who under that precedent have had their electoral power diminished—in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.” Clyburn added as follows while on MSNBC:

‘We think the Attorney General needs to step in and let it be known that the Justice Department is not going to be quiet when this is going on. We can’t wait until the elections are over and then litigate the cases, when you look around, and you’ve got people in office, and they’re there against the Constitutional principles of the United States.’

Clyburn also discussed the impact of the so-called “big lie” that the last presidential election was somehow rigged. While Republicans baselessly lose faith in the electoral process by way of the fire hose of Trump’s false fraud claims, the suppressive restrictions on the electoral process that have been being imposed partly under the cover of lies about election integrity threaten to leave those on the other side worrying about the security of elections. As the Congressman put it, the so-called big lie is “having an impact on people, and it may be intentional, that people will soon say: what’s the use [of voting]?” Watch Clyburn’s comments on MSNBC below: