Judge Pryor is just one of dozens of federal judges around the country who have ruled that states or municipalities have diluted, disenfranchised, or otherwise devised illegal, unconstitutional schemes to deny minorities their rightful electoral power. Just weeks before the Alabama decision, George W. Bush appointee Judge Lee Rosenthal issued a decision finding that Pasadena, Texas implemented a voting plan for city council seats that ensured that “Latino voters do not have the same right to vote as their Anglo neighbors.”
These rulings are both disturbing reminders that discrimination in voting is alive and well and heartening evidence of the role our courts serve as an impartial bulwark of our democracy. That role is not reserved for the courts alone, however. It is also the responsibility of the Department of Justice. In a climate where unfounded allegations of voter fraud or vote-rigging go unchallenged, the country cannot afford to let stand laws enacted on such falsehoods, many of which are palpably intended to disenfranchise ripening political power by historically marginalized racial and ethnic minority groups. Thus, DOJ’s conviction to its mission “to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans” is critical to its continued legitimacy.
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