Big Blow to DOJ: District Court Fast-Tracks Challenge to Federal Oversight of Elections

Secondly, the Department had assumed they could saddle places like Shelby County with the sins of history -- the vile age of slavery, then segregation, would be on vibrant display in the courtroom. Even Shelby-specific evidence -- like statements from local citizens cataloging their perceptions of modern day discrimination -- are now off limits to the DOJ.

Be assured that the proposed nine months of discovery would have produced a nicely written storyline. The court might hear expert testimony of a modern Jim Crow on the loose in Shelby County towns like Calera and Vincent. The three surviving members of the Klan in Shelby might see their influence conflated into something approaching a majority on the board of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. Stories of modern discrimination in housing, education, and government services would fill the gaps.

Judge Bates foreclosed on this storyline. Judge Bates ripped the pages from the racial grievance playbook, saying thou shall not go beyond the Congressional record of 2006.

Parties will now argue summary judgment motions. The outcome of these motions at the district court will come sometime in early 2011, but what is decided at the lower court level will matter little. Justices on the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the issue.

Whether or not the Congressional record can support the massive intrusion into state sovereignty in a country that has elected a black president remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: seven of the states currently covered by Section 5 voted for Obama in the election. That’s another thing Judge Bates won’t allow in the record, but the Supreme Court will be taking quiet judicial notice of that inconvenient truth.