This is the sort of reckless letter that would never have been sent during the Bush administration. It oozes open partisanship, a radical legal perspective, and an unashamed willingness to flex federal muscle in the press.
Naturally, the DOJ demand was designed by one of the radicals inside the Voting Section. It reveals: “The materials may be sent by FedEx to Daniel Freeman, Trial Attorney, Voting Section,” and suggests, “If you have any questions. . . please contact Mr. Freeman at 202-305-4355.” In Voting Section parlance, that means Freeman is the attorney most responsible for this partisan act.
Daniel Freeman: Mr. Freeman comes to the Voting Section following a fellowship at the New York Civil Liberties Union. He previously interned at the ACLU, where he assisted the organization with its efforts to attack the Bush administration’s national security policies. He also helped to challenge the “state secrets privilege” and to support the rights of terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay during an internship at Human Rights First.
On his resume, Freeman proudly notes his membership in the liberal American Constitution Society, as well as his service as co-chair of the Yale Law School Democrats. Of course, being a member of the American Constitution Society does not bar you from federal employment. Yet the Bush administration was castigated for hiring lawyers who were members of the Federalist Society. Incidentally, Mr. Freeman is helping lead the Voting Section’s review of redistricting submissions from the state of Alabama.
What about Crawford v. Marion County, you ask; didn’t the Supreme Court uphold voter ID? Nonsense. As I have been writing ad nauseum, Crawford has limited applicability in Pennsylvania, Texas or South Carolina. It was a facial Equal Protection challenge, not a Section 5 or Section 2 case under the Voting Rights Act. Those who rely on Crawford in the 2012 voter ID wars are being lured into a trap that Justice Department lawyers know how to spring.
States that think Crawford will save state voter ID laws will lose those laws to DOJ attacks.
Pennsylvania officials should also take note of the lessons learned by Texas and South Carolina in their run-in with the partisan Justice Department. First, don’t turn over data or documents unless a judge orders you to do so because whatever is in them will be used against you. It happened to Texas. It happened to South Carolina.
Pennsylvania officials should follow the lead of Georgia. The Peach State has figured out that the DOJ Voting Section has limited resources and cannot be bogged down in litigation everywhere. Thus, when Georgia resolved to fight back on another election integrity matter, DOJ dropped its demands.
Hopefully Pennsylvania absorbs the lessons from the election integrity fights around the country and realizes the vast majority of Americans support voter ID. Thus, demonstrations and rallies against Pennsylvania voter ID will appear to most as peculiar protests against everyday life activities. In other words, the protesters will seem nuts. The state should not fear rallies of nuts with photo ID in their pockets; Pennsylvania should welcome them.
Just ask James O’Keefe about the value of nuts on camera.