Monthly Archives: July 2013

“Obama’s Scheme to Take Over Texas”

Greg Abbott, Texas’s AG and a gubernatorial candidate, has written this oped for the Washington Times. It concludes:

On top of that, putting states like Texas back under federal oversight is unnecessary to protect voting rights. Although the Supreme Court has ended the preclearance requirement, the protections of the Voting Rights Act still apply. Anyone claiming discrimination by a state voting law can sue in federal court. In fact, that is exactly what has happened in the Texas redistricting litigation, where the Obama administration injected itself. If the courts find that a state law violates the Voting Rights Act, the law will not be enforced. These lawsuits cost the aggrieved voter nothing. There is a sizable cottage industry of lawyers who gladly take any legitimate — and many illegitimate — cases at no charge to the aggrieved voter.

After the Shelby County decision, the Voting Rights Act still works. It just no longer imposes an onerous and costly preclearance requirement that disrupts the state-federal balance of power enshrined in the Constitution. Instead of allowing the Voting Rights Act to work in a way the Constitution allows, the Obama administration is sowing racial divide to score cheap political points. The president is using the legal system as a sword to wage partisan battles rather than a shield to protect voting rights. This overreaching action undermines the Voting Rights Act and the rule of law. Texas will not tolerate it. So far, neither will the Supreme Court.

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“Release – Culberson-Rokita Bill Empowers States to Fight Voter Fraud”

Press release: “Reps. John Culberson (TX-07) and Todd Rokita (IN-04) recently introduced H.R. 2829, the Restoring Important Voting Eligibility Requirements to the States Act of 2013, or the RIVERS Act. The RIVERS Act restores the states’ Constitutional power to protect the integrity of their voter rolls.  The bill reinforces the congressional intent of the National Voting Rights Act and allows individual states to determine the eligibility of voters.”

This is a response to the Arizona v. Inter Tribal case recently decided by the Supreme Court.

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Buckley v. Valeo and McCutcheon

I had not read in many years the discussion in Buckley upholding the aggregate contributions cap now at issue in the McCutcheon case.  Turns out the entire discussion in Buckley’s otherwise massive opinion is one paragraph long.  That makes it easy to reproduce, so I thought I would.  In a general section of the opinion entitled “Contribution Limitations,” here is the entire discussion:

4. The 25,000 Limitation on Total Contributions During any Calendar Year

In addition to the $1,000 limitation on the nonexempt contributions that an individual may make to a particular candidate for any single election, the Act contains an over-all $25,000 limitation on total contributions by an individual during any calendar year. § 608(b)(3). A contribution made in connection with an election is considered, for purposes of this subsection, to be made in the year the election is held. Although the constitutionality of this provision was drawn into question by appellants, it has not been separately addressed at length by the parties. The over-all $25,000 ceiling does impose an ultimate restriction upon the number of candidates and committees with which an individual may associate himself by means of financial support. But this quite modest restraint upon protected political activity serves to prevent evasion of the $1,000 contribution limitation by a person who might otherwise contribute massive amounts of money to a particular candidate through the use of unearmarked contributions to political committees likely to contribute to that candidate, or huge contributions to the candidate’s political party. The limited, additional restriction on associational freedom imposed by the over-all ceiling is thus no more than a corollary of the basic individual contribution limitation that we have found to be constitutionally valid.

“A Critical Look at Holder’s Texas ‘Gambit'”

WSJ Law Blog:

Dusting off a little-used section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder made headlines last week when he asked a federal court in San Antonio to take back control of Texas’s voting rules.

The move is thought to be a prelude to a broader battle with Republican states following a landmark Supreme Court ruling that gave GOP regions more autonomy over their election laws.

But Mr.  Holder’s fight with Texas may not be worth it, at least according to University of California-Irvine law professor Richard Hasen, an electoral law expert who supports tougher voting-rights protections.

The best thing that can be said about the Justice Department’s legal strategy is that it’s better than nothing, he said.


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