Alabama Attorney General Files Suspiciously Partisan Lawsuit
On December 5, 2011, the NAACP released a report titled Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America. The report examines scores of legislative proposals, ballot initiatives and voting laws ratified or proposed since the 2008 election. Following the 2008 election, the trend of growing and unprecedented African-American and Latino voter turnout and a blitz of restrictive measures nationwide designed to stanch electoral strength among communities of color prompted the report.
“It’s been more than a century since we’ve seen such a tidal wave of assaults on the right to vote,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Voting rights attacks are the flip side of buying a democracy. First you buy all the leaders you can, and then you suppress as many votes as possible of the people who might object.”
“This assault — which is comprehensive in its reach and was launched in time to affect the 2012 elections — threatens to undermine the record levels of political participation witnessed during the historic 2008 Presidential Election, by blocking access to people of color, the poor, the elderly and the young,” the report warns.
So it should come as no surprise that Alabama’s attorney general, General Luther Strange, has filed a suit taking aim at a law passed in 1965 to keep states honest in the matter of voting issues.
The Voting Rights Act was put in place for several states, including Alabama, because of their histories of voter discrimination. One part of the act requires that the state get Federal approval before redistricting the state resulting in voter changes. The attorney general wants to avoid Justice Department preclearance, which he claims is unconstitutional.
They are “ashamed of the way they drew the lines,” stated House Minority Leader Craig Ford.
Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, believes that attorney generals’ office just wants to avoid the preclearance because the state legislature passed a racially gerrymandered plan. He also stated, “It’s a ridiculous waste of taxpayer’s money.”
Another part of the suit seeks an injunction that would prevent Attorney General Eric Holder from enforcing the preclearance provision.
Attorney General Strange was not available for comment. Now that’s not strange at all.