Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay ® violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.
The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department’s voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.
“The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect,” the memo concluded.
This is a very important story, thanks for getting it up. It ties snugly into the DeLay money laundering story as well as the Georgia voter ID situation. There are many tempting bits to pull out for quotes; too many. I suggest reading the whole thing.
So, of course, the obvious solution here is…
The Justice Department has barred staff attorneys from offering recommendations in major Voting Rights Act cases, marking a significant change in the procedures meant to insulate such decisions from politics, congressional aides and current and former employees familiar with the issue said.
Disclosure of the change comes amid growing public criticism of Justice Department decisions to approve Republican-engineered plans in Texas and Georgia that were found to hurt minority voters by career staff attorneys who analyzed the plans. Political appointees overruled staff findings in both cases.
I am surprised the Supremes granted a writ on this case. May be an interesting litmus test on the direction of the Court under Roberts …