On Friday, the Biden administration filed a 46-page complaint against the state of Georgia, alleging the state’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. For a lawsplainer of the Voting Rights Act, read here. But for a taste of the surreal state of the U.S. Department of Justice under President Joe Biden, follow along.
1. It’s Still 1965
Given that on occasion President Joe Biden believes he’s still in the Senate, it should come as no surprise that his Department of Justice believes it’s still 1965.
In alleging that provisions in the Georgia voting-integrity law violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ opened its complaint by proclaiming that the Georgia legislature enacted the law “against the backdrop of Georgia’s history of discrimination against Black Georgians. ” The complaint continued with an entire section headed “The State of Georgia’s History of Discrimination,” which stressed, “the history of official racial discrimination against Black citizens in Georgia with regard to voting is longstanding, well-documented, and recognized by Federal courts.”
The DOJ drafted its complaint as though that reality still exists and acting oblivious to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, even though a few paragraphs later the Biden administration noted that Georgia had been subject to the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act until 2013, when the Supreme Court decided Shelby County.
But as the Supreme Court made clear in Shelby County, since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 “things have changed dramatically,” and “conditions have changed significantly.” At the time the Voting Rights Act passed, “the blight of racial discrimination in voting” had “infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century.”
Accordingly, as part of the Voting Rights Act, Congress required states that had maintained tests or devices as a prerequisite to voting such as literacy and knowledge tests or good moral character requirements, “and had less than 50 percent voter registration or turnout in the 1964 Presidential election,” to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to
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