Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner has teamed up with the ACLU and introduced a bill which would radically expand federal power over state elections. It would give Attorney General Eric Holder expansive new federal powers over state elections, including the ability to barge into polling places to monitor the use of foreign language election materials. It would also give Holder the power to block election integrity measures like Voter ID and citizenship verification.
More details to follow. But Roger Clegg has this piece at National Review.
And, indeed, for better or worse the Justice Department and civil-rights groups are now using those other provisions to try to advance their agendas, which amount to a war on voter-ID requirements and ensuring the continued racial gerrymandering and segregation of voting districts. There’s no evidence that the Left needs more weapons in its arsenal; all that’s different in the post–Shelby County world is that now its lawyers have to prove racial discrimination before they can get court relief, which is the way that every other civil-rights law works.
The second point: Much in the draft bill has nothing to do with Shelby County at all. Rather, the Court’s decision is being used as an excuse to enact the Left’s wish-list in voting policy. In particular, the Left wants to promote its plaintiffs’ lawyers to the status of the attorney general in making civil-rights enforcement decisions. All this is a standard demand for the civil-rights groups whenever they (deservedly) lose a case and run to Congress.
The tragic part for Mr. Sensenbrenner, that in the twilight of his career, has gone all-in with the arch enemies of the Constitution. He had vowed to “fix” Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which the Supreme Court struck down last June. Instead, he has tinkered with a dozen other issues, making it Christmas time for the far left and satisfying their long wish list to expand federal power over elections. Promising to “fix” Section 4 was an honorable choice. But his bill does far more.
Sensenbrenner’s new friends aren’t satisfied. The far left Leadership Conference on Civil Rights issued a statement saying the bill is just a first step. “But this bill is only the first step in the legislative process. As introduced, this bill does not go far enough in protecting language minorities or voters living in states with restrictive voter ID laws.” Comforting.