Moreover, the career civil servants who recommended preclearance have significantly more experience in enforcing the Voting Rights Act than does Colangelo, a lawyer that one DOJ employee characterized to me as “seriously lacking” in any Voting Rights Act experience. Assistant Attorney General Perez also lacks firsthand experience litigating Voting Rights Act cases, particularly compared with the DOJ staff that recommended preclearance of South Carolina’s voter ID.
In personal meetings with career Voting Section staff, Perez told them to ask outlandish and inappropriate questions of state officials in Section 5 reviews to discern if state officials enacted voter ID with a racially discriminatory intent. Voting Section staff characterized Perez’s suggestions to me as wholly inappropriate.
Nevertheless, in the voter ID court litigation, other Justice Department lawyers have asked similarly outlandish questions of Texas and South Carolina officials in depositions – such as whether they belong to a country club, what cable news channels they watch, whether they spoke with the Heritage Foundation, and what their views toward “sanctuary cities” are.
This political interference comes on the heels of the Obama re-elect campaign making opposition to voter ID a cornerstone of a base-mobilization strategy. Political appointees at the DOJ ensured that official government action would comport with campaign rhetoric.
Whether news outlets that once expressed outrage at the idea of career Voting Section employees being overruled by political appointees in a voter ID case will be outraged when it actually happens remains to be seen. I somehow don’t expect the Washington Post, USA Today, and the ridiculously biased Greg Gordon at the drain-swirling McClatchy to be consistent. Perhaps they should at least ask DOJ public affairs for their own copy of the documents the career civil servants produced recommending that South Carolina’s voter ID law be approved. That way the federal court can learn the entire story.