Obama Plays the Race Card
Leading the charge against Hans von Spakovsky.
11:00 PM, Nov 14, 2007 • By EDWARD BLUM
How can this be a violation of minority voting rights? Well, it's not. In the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (also known as "Motor Voter"), Congress required all United States Attorneys to notify state election officials when registered voters are convicted of felonies in federal courts. A decade later, Congress enacted a housekeeping measure virtually identical to von Spakovsky's recommended procedure when it passed the Help America Vote Act, which required states to set up computerized voter registration lists and to "coordinate the computerized list with State agency records on felony status."
So, according to Sen. Obama, von Spakovsky is disqualified from serving on the FEC because he endorsed a procedure that would not only helps states (including Illinois) enforce their existing laws, but one that Congress eventually implemented as a federal requirement.
Finally, Obama's last major objection to von Spakovsky is his involvement in the now infamous, Tom DeLay-inspired, Texas congressional redistricting plan in 2003. Like the controversy over the Georgia voter I.D. statute, in 2003, the Texas legislature redrew the state's congressional districts resulting in a pick up five new GOP representatives in the next election. Obama claims that von Spakovsky overruled the career staffers' recommendations that the plan be rejected as harmful--or, in the language of the Voting Rights Act, "retrogressive"--to the current position of minority voters. The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where one district out of 32 was struck down as a violation of a completely different part of the Voting Rights Act--a part that von Spakovsky and the voting section have no jurisdiction to enforce. Once again, just like the Georgia I.D. case, the courts proved von Spakovsky made the right legal call.
So what is really at issue here? Politics. The career staffers at Justice wanted to deny approval of the Texas redistricting plan and they were overruled--correctly as it turned out--by their bosses who ran the Civil Rights Division. The career staffers were so infuriated with the decision that someone leaked their internal legal memoranda to the Washington Post, violating every professional rule of ethics and professional conduct imaginable.
Edward Blum is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of The Unintended Consequences of Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, forthcoming from AEI Press.