It appears that the Obama Administration is once again utilizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a political tool, this time to challenge voter identification laws—like one already upheld by the Supreme Court—that Democrats claim discriminate against minorities.
As the presidential election nears and Obama’s poll numbers plummet, who can blame party loyals for taking measures to get their boss reelected? After all, under this far-fetched discrimination theory a chunk of citizens that would normally vote Democrat couldn’t cast ballots because they can’t prove their identity.
That’s because they are either too poor or too ignorant to get a valid identification—provided free in many of the states that have passed voter ID laws—that proves they are who they say they are. This unbelievable theory has gained momentum in the last few months, with the powerful chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz) calling ID laws a “full-scale assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.
Eight states have strict laws that require a voter to provide picture identification in order to cast a ballot. All but two of the states—Georgia and Indiana—passed their measures this year and the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division has vowed to ensure that they don’t have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect. Targets of the DOJ’s discrimination probe are Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi.
Reiterating the administration’s “commitment to robust civil rights enforcement,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez confirmed last week that DOJ lawyers are reviewing some of the recently-enacted state laws to ensure that they are not racially discriminatory. “We have received numerous inquiries about recently enacted state laws relating to voter identification requirements, voter registration requirements and changes to early voting procedures,” Perez said, adding that “we are carefully reviewing these laws.”
In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.
The ruling makes the DOJ’s aggressive intervention all the more questionable, like some of its other politically-motivated actions. Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained internal government records that show political appointees at the DOJ ordered a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party dismissed. Clad in military attire and armed with weapons, members of the radical group intimidated white voters with racial insults and profanity during the 2008 presidential election and were scheduled to be prosecuted.