The Holder Justice Department has been using secret internal redistricting plans to try to force states, counties and cities to maximize the number of black elected officials resulting from redistricting. In the 1990’s the Department of Justice Voting Section engaged in illegal activity that was commonly referred to as “Max-Black” when reviewing redistricting plans in 16 states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In sum, it meant that DOJ Voting Section lawyers worked with groups like the NAACP to maximize the number of black elected officials in any legislative, county or city redistricting plan submitted to Justice. As I write in my book Injustice, this behavior cost the taxpayers a bundle in sanctions.
The bill in another Clinton-era case, Johnson v. Miller, was a touch smaller—only $594,000—but the Civil Rights Division misconduct was even more egregious. In that case, the Voting Section fought to impose an illegal, racially gerrymandered legislative redistricting plan on the state of Georgia. In attempting to create as many black-controlled legislative districts as possible, Voting Section lawyers became sleazy advocates for leftist groups and, according to the court, may have committed perjury.
Our good friend former Assistant Attorney General Loretta King was involved in this outrage. Everything old is new again, and the Holder Department of Justice is once again imposing Max-Black on the United States through the use of secret internal Max-Black redistricting plans that are used to criticize or attack plans submitted by jurisdictions which do not Max-Black.
Tabella has this important post at ElectionLawCenter.com. These Max-Black plans are the sort roundly criticized by the Supreme Court, and often violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
Tabella points out that it is high hypocrisy for the DOJ to assert that Texas inappropriately emphasized race in their redistricting when redistricting submissions are being compared to these secret internal illustrative plans. Were these bug-splat plans to see the light of day, the plaintiffs in the Shelby County, Kinston, Arizona, Georgia and Florida challenges to Section 5 would have a wild ride. In any red-file redistricting, the demographer staff at the Voting Section will be told to draw a plan with as many minority districts as possible. These secret internal Max-Black plans become the aspirational standard for submissions.
Any submitting authority will recognize the signs of the secret plans. DOJ staff have been instructed that they cannot ever give the illustrative plans to the submitting authority. They, instead, are to suggest moving a district line in a certain direction, or to grab new territory. The instructions to DOJ staff to create, but not disclose the secret plans, are explicit. These instructions are yet another reason why jurisdictions should go straight to federal court for approval of redistricting plans instead of dealing with the illegal imposition of Max-Black solutions by Eric Holder’s DOJ.
Next week Eric Holder goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing. A Senator should ask if the Voting Section is using secret internal Max-Black illustrative plans. Were he to deny their existence, add to the list another instance of his questionable testimony under oath. Were he to admit their existence, the abusive practice should be presented to the Supreme Court in whatever challenge to Section 5 arrives first- whether Georgia’s, Arizona’s, Florida’s, Shelby County’s or Kinston (or be stopped).