Another Explosive DOJ Voting Rights Memo Leaked to the Washington Post; Could It Affect Supreme Court’s Decision in Texas Redistricting Case?

Today’s Washington Post features Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal; Voting Rights Finding On Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled. The newspaper also posted the 73-page document here. This comes on the heels of this earlier Post report on a similar leak involving the preclearance decision in the Georgia voter i.d. case and this report on the exodus of career DOJ civil rights attorneys in the face of accusations that the department’s decisions have become too politicized. Clearly, someone in DOJ who is leaking the documents to the newspaper believes political considerations are trumping sound analysis by competent career DOJ attorneys. These revelations should cause Congress, considering reauthorization of the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, to look closely at whether DOJ remains the appropriate body to make preclearance decisions.
I don’t think these revelations are likely to affect the upcoming decision in the Supreme Court whether to hear the second set of appeals from the three-judge court in the Texas redistricting cases. On remand, the three judge court did not address the Voting Rights Act issues again and focused only on the partisan gerrymandering claims. Here I wrote that the most likely Supreme Court outcome at this point is a summary affirmance with one or more dissents.

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