Merced County is but one small part of a wider dishonest DOJ strategy to save Section 5. At the center of the strategy is ignoring non-compliance with the bailout checklist all in the name of the bigger mission. The moral among us call this “the ends justifying the means.” They don’t yet teach this openly in most law schools.
The DOJ documents state: “In light of [the Texas utility case], legal analysis … is heavily skewed in favor of bailout. … Thus, subsequent to [the case], the Attorney General [Holder] has adopted an interpretation of the bailout provision of the Act that encourages bailout. Even an informal policy position concerning the application of the VRA is entitled to judicial deference.”
The DOJ documents brush off the annexation settlements in Merced by saying “an overly inclusive definition would unreasonably restrict bailout by a jurisdiction that acted immediately to correct a possibly voting rights problem once informed of the issue. There is no need to punish a political subdivision that acts in good faith, and a broad definition of [settlement] ‘agreement’ would deter improvements in voting procedures by jurisdictions that hope to bailout.”
Here you have bureaucrats substituting their judgment for the express will of Congress (more on who they are in a moment). Naturally, this behavior comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked in the Justice Department Voting Section, as I document thoroughly in my book Injustice.
But it gets worse.
More from the DOJ documents: “While the plain text of the statute would seem to disqualify [Merced County from bailout] … the permissive statutory interpretation regime required by [the Texas utility case in 2009], along with the Attorney General’s policy to encourage bailout, militates in favor of bailout where untimely submissions do not hide discriminatory intent or retrogressive effect. Although the sum total of late submissions by Merced County is large, they are spread through dozens of jurisdictions that are individually responsible for Section 5 compliance.” (emphasis added)
Therefore, the law “does not bar bailout” for Merced.
Notice how high-paid Justice Department lawyers ignore the law for a selfish ends — namely to convince the Supreme Court that bailout is really easy and should save the law.
Saving Section 5 will also save some of their own jobs. Approximately thirty government employees inside the Voting Section are employed through the continued existence of Section 5. The same office that is twisting the law to grant as many bailouts as possible before the Shelby case is argued is the same office that reviews thousands of Section 5 submissions in a year.
On August 31, 2012, the con was completed when the federal court signed the consent decree allowing Merced County, California, to bail out.
And who are the DOJ lawyers listed as presenting this consent decree to the federal court?