Justice Dept Intervenes In Court To Defend Voting Rights Act From GOP


The Justice Department has made a court filing with federal judges to defend the Constitutional nature of the Voting Rights Act as it stands amid legal wrangling over the Congressional and state legislative district lines in Georgia. A judge recently directed that maps for Congress and both chambers of Georgia’s state legislature be redone to improve access for Black communities, though the courtroom stand-offs seemed set to continue into appeals.

Authorities singled out a key argument for rebuttal in their new filing — the idea “racial causation” must be proven at an early stage of the proceedings for a redistricting challenge on these grounds from the Voting Rights Act to continue. “Racial causation” means voting patterns among marginalized groups are tied to racial considerations rather than, say, something partisan. An implication of the GOP argument is that there shouldn’t just be a difference in outcomes but also, essentially, actual racism present or at least implied before approving redistricting changes.

“And in Georgia NAACP, Defendants assert that the Court must read the second and third Gingles preconditions to require proof that racial considerations cause racially polarized voting (i.e., racial causation) to avoid a reading of Section 2 that would be unconstitutional or would raise constitutional doubt,” the department summarized.

Those responding to the underlying redistricting challenges focused heavily on the idea of leaving the Constitution ostensibly alone via accepting legal interpretations put forward by their side, which the Justice Department also rebuffed.

On the racial causation question, the department said the legal record just didn’t support the requirement that plaintiffs in these redistricting challenges make such a showing, which would heighten the thresholds that must be reached for courtroom success, even if tentative. In short, it’s about results. If the factual record of a given situation shows numerical disadvantages for a racial group attempting to get their candidates elected, then it might be essentially impossible to even reasonably separate out another consideration other than something racial, making proving “racism” basically moot.

“Rather, this discussion means that the very existence of racially polarized voting creates a plausible inference that race is at least one reason for minority voters’ lack of success. In other words, the third precondition shows that “minority voters face—unlike their majority peers—bloc voting along racial lines,”” the government said, quoting in the end a past court case. Read here.