Saturday, April 29, 2017

Redistricting Challenges and the Use of Bail-In

Fighting for Civil Rights has been an important part of my involvement in the Political Process. Any roadblock that prevents Americans from participating in our Democracy is concerning to me. Gerrymandering is a huge Roadblock to Fairness. It is a fundamental attack on our Democracy and civil rights, and it is inconsistent with who we say we are as a Nation.

Republicans were strategic about winning State-Level Elections in 2010. With their Statehouse majorities and Governorships, they were able to draw Maps, both for State Legislative and Congressional Districts, that ensured they would stay in Power for at least a Decade.

To fight back against Republican Map-Rigging, We have to be strategic in the years before the next round of Redistricting in 2021.

We’ve already seen successes: Courts have recently ruled that the Map Republicans drew in Texas used Racial “Packing” tactics to rob Minority voters of Fair Representation, a Gross Violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Then there was a win on Gerrymandering in Virginia, from the Supreme Court no less.

But the Strategy goes beyond the Courts. We must start right now by making sure we Elect people in the States that have the power to deal with these Redistricting questions and determine who is at the table when new Maps are drawn in 2021.

Republicans know groups are working around the clock to end their Gerrymandering schemes. So when they go before the Supreme Court to argue that their Gerrymandered Map in Wisconsin, one of the worst examples in the Country is legal, they’re bringing some powerful friends along: The Republican National Committee and the Governments of twelve GOP-controlled States.

These Republican power players will all be filing Amicus Briefs in the Case the New York Times reports could “could transform political maps from City Hall to Congress.”

It’s clear the GOP is gearing up for a huge fight. We must do the same if we want to win.

It’s no wonder National and State-level Republicans have a vested interest in this Case. If the Supreme Court knocks down Wisconsin’s Gerrymandered State Legislative Districts, their Maps across the Country could be in peril, and so could their Congressional and State Legislative majorities.

So we need to keep fighting to bring similar Cases in States Republicans have Gerrymandered. We also need to keep working to elect Independents in Key State Legislative and Gubernatorial races to make sure that when it’s time to redraw the Maps in 2021, we have a Seat at the table.

One option is the voters determine they want an Independent Redistricting Commision in their State. But the Voting Rights Act of 1965has another option.


Section 3(c) contains a "bail-In" or "Pocket Trigger" process by which Jurisdictions that fall outside the Coverage Gormula of Section 4(b) may become subject to preclearance. Under this provision, if a Jurisdiction has Racially discriminated against Voters in Violation of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments, a Court may order the Jurisdiction to have future changes to its Election Laws preapproved by the Federal Government. Because Courts have interpreted the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to prohibit only Intentional Discrimination, a Court may Bail-In a Jurisdiction only if the Plaintiff proves that the Jurisdiction enacted or operated a Voting practice to purposely Discriminate.

Section 3(c) contains its own preclearance language and differs from Section 5 preclearance in several ways. Unlike Section 5 preclearance, which applies to a Covered Jurisdiction until such time as the Jurisdiction may Bail-Out of Coverage under Section 4(a), Bailed-In Jurisdictions remain subject to preclearance for as long as the Court orders. Moreover, the Court may require the Jurisdiction to preclear only particular types of Voting changes. For example, the Bail-In of New Mexico in 1984 applied for 10 years and required preclearance of only Redistricting plans. This differs from Section 5 preclearance, which requires a Covered Jurisdiction to preclear all of its Voting changes.

During the Act's early history, Section 3(c) was little used; no Jurisdictions were Bailed-In until 1975. Between 1975 and 2013, 18 Jurisdictions were Bailed-In, including 16 Local Governments and the States of Arkansas and New Mexico. Although the Supreme Court held the Section 4(b) coverage Formula Unconstitutional in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), it did not hold Section 3(c) Unconstitutional. Therefore, Jurisdictions may continue to be Bailed-In and subjected to Section 3(c) preclearance. In the months following Shelby County, Courts began to consider requests by the Attorney General and other Plaintiffs to bail-In the States of Texas and North Carolina, and in January 2014 a Federal Court bailed-In Evergreen, Alabama.

A more narrow Bail-In process pertaining to Federal Observer Certification is prescribed in Section 3(a). Under this Provision, a Federal Court may Certify a Non-Covered Jurisdiction to receive Federal Observers if the Court determines that the Jurisdiction Violated the Voting Rights Guaranteed by the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments. Jurisdictions certified to receive Federal Observers under Section 3(a) are not subject to preclearance.

So it is in our interest, to replace the current Administration as quickly as we can. The current Justice Department is a Huge Wall against the use of the Bail-In Process.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: