Eric Holder has blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law. Hans von Spakovsky and I have been predicting this was going to happen for over eight months here at PJ Media. The only surprising thing is that no halftime adjustments were made after it became even clearer an objection was on the way. Texas now faces the same dilemma. Sadly, I’m not convinced Texas understands the battlefield or the stakes involved.
Attorney General Abbot says on Twitter that “Texas will be next. We’ll fight to the end for ballot integrity.”
If true, then pull the Texas voter ID submission now, tonight, by fax, and go to federal court now, on your terms.
I don’t believe these state officials understand the effect of an objection by the Justice Department. Anybody who has been around these issues regularly, as compared with dabbling in them from time to time, knows the effect of the Scarlet O, the objection.
The first thing that happens is the civil rights industry goes crazy. They hold a victory celebration in the media, and change the litigation environment if the state ever decides to go to court. Secondly, the de novo review is a fiction. People in the civil rights industry, and inside Justice, know that once the attorney general has objected, the rules of the game have changed in any future court fight.
Lawyers in Austin and Columbia might have thought an objection carries zero widgets of weight in a subsequent federal court effort to obtain preclearance. They think a de novo review means a de novo review. Instead, an objection has about 100 widgets of weight – political, public relations, perception weight, and yes, even silent legal weight.