Update: Greg Abbott Strikes Back at Holder on Voter ID
Big news today. Apparently Eric Holder is going to find out what happens when you mess with Texas over voter ID. This afternoon, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an amended complaint directly attacking the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 allowed Eric Holder to block Texas Voter ID. (My column Texas: All Hat and No Cattle on Voter ID? described this approach.)
It is noteworthy that Abbott seems to have added a single, straightforward, paragraph: "The 2006 reauthorization of Section 5 is unconstitutional on its face for the reasons provided in Northwest Austin." (Par. 52). And with about 45 seconds of editing a complaint, we learn Texas is all cattle, and very little hat.
If that wasn't bad enough, the United States District Court just slapped around Holder's Voting Section lawyers in court. They wanted to delay resolution of the matter until after the Presidential election. Of course they did. But the court wasn't buying:
Elizabeth Westfall, a Justice Department lawyer, told the judges at the hearing it wasn’t possible to resolve the case in time for the election, arguing the government needs “months” to investigate whether there was a discriminatory purpose to the law. That inquiry involves interviewing state lawmakers and reviewing documents, she said.
Collyer said the judges found the government’s position “troubling,” and ordered the parties to decide within a month whether the case needs to go to trial.
Westfall, the DOJ lawyer who lost, is one of the radicals hired by Eric Holder as profiled in the Pulitzer-nominated Every Single One series. Westfall is both a partisan democrat and longstanding opponent of voter integrity measures, formerly working for the George Soros funded Advancement Project. From the series:
Elizabeth Westfall: Last, but certainly not least, is Ms. Westfall. According to the Federal Election Commission website, she contributed nearly $7,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign, contributed another $4,400 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, contributed $2,000 to Wesley Clark’s presidential campaign in 2004, contributed $3,000 to John Kerry’s presidential campaign and compliance fund in 2004, contributed $500 to former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s PAC in 2004, and contributed $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2000.
In addition to this incredible funding of Democratic candidates, Westfall worked for six years at the far-left Advancement Project, directing its Voter Protection Program and managing its litigation and advocacy activities. She also previously served as a staff attorney at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in its Fair Housing Group, and worked on the Hill as a legislative assistant to then-Congressman Bill Richardson (D-NM).
On Westfall’s self-drafted Harvard alumni biography, she notes that she has testified before the U.S. Congress about supposed “barriers” to voter registration, “unwarranted” purging of the voter rolls, and voter caging. While those subjects may sound benign, in fact, the Advancement Project and the Lawyers Committee claim that common-sense reforms like voter ID or requiring proof of citizenship are “barriers” to voting and registration and that removing voters who have moved or otherwise become ineligible to vote is “unwarranted purging.”
Things are not going well at Holder's DOJ. They have decided to rush headfirst into an issue that enjoys overwhelming public support, even among Democrats and blacks. Greg Abbott has had enough. And now, so has a federal court.
With this amended complaint, one of two outcomes are likely: Voter ID is implemented for the November election in Texas, or, courts will strike down Section 5. Either way, Holder will have presided over an ill-managed dismantling of Section 5, or, a failed attack on voter integrity.