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Rule of Law

DOJ vs. Florida: Round One, Florida

June 27th, 2012 - 5:56 pm

The Justice Department has lost the first round in the fight over removing foreigners from Florida voter rolls.

Recall that the radical lawyers in the DOJ Voting Section frantically sued Florida to stop the removal of foreigners from Florida voter rolls.  The DOJ lawsuit was a panicked and rushed response to Florida seizing the initiative and suing the Department of Homeland Security for failing to aid Florida’s search for foreigners on state voter rolls.  The DOJ claimed the purge plan violated Section 8 of Motor Voter, a statute the Holder DOJ has entirely failed to enforce to remove ineligible voters since January 2009. The DOJ hinted that the purge plan violated the Voting Rights Act but quickly abandoned that theory.

Today, DOJ lost round one, badly.  Justice sought a temporary restraining order to stop Florida from moving forward with detection of foreigners on the voter rolls.  The Palm Beach Post:

Hinkle denied the request for the emergency stop to the program in part because he said the state was no longer doing it.

But he also rejected Justice Department attorney John Bert Russ’s argument that the non-citizen voter purge violates federal law.

That last part is the most important.  DOJ took the radical position (what else is new) that Florida could not remove illegally registered non-citizens from the voter rolls within 90 days of an election.  The court rejected this interpretation of Motor Voter.

In fact, sources tell me that the Voting Section chief actually has agreed with the position of Florida in this legal circumstance.  He doesn’t believe that Motor Voter can preserve illegally registered voters on the rolls.  But these days, rational and thoughtful legal analysis at Justice has given way to partisan law enforcement.

This isn’t the end of the story.  Yesterday, True the Vote and Judicial Watch filed a motion to intervene to defend Florida’s non-citizen purge.  (Disclosure: I am listed as of counsel on the pleadings.)  True the Vote seeks to help Governor Scott enforce the law.  It’s a shame we have a Justice Department more interested in keeping foreigners on the voter rolls than prosecuting the ones who committed crimes when they illegally registered to vote.

Neither should this surprise anyone.  Since the early days of the Obama administration, this Justice Department has encouraged lawlessness and abandoned law abiding citizens.  Priorities, I suppose.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage assembled from multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

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