Man, Texas governor and briefly-viable presidential candidate Rick Perry sure is ticked off about the Justice Department attempted to force preclearance on Texas’ redistricting plan:
“Once again, the Obama Administration is demonstrating utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution,” Perry said in a written statement. “This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process.”*
The Justice Department is citing Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act in its effort to impose pre-clearance on Texas. As you know, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 was unconst….wait, what? They didn’t say boo about Section 3. The Supreme Court struck down Section 4. No matter how they teach math in Texas, 3 is not the same thing as 4.
Therefore, what Perry is complaining about is that the executive branch is enforcing a law passed by the legislative branch that hasn’t been found unconstitutional by the judicial branch. This is what Perry refers to as “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution.” I don’t think Perry is really that dumb. But he obviously thinks that this kind of nonsense will appeal to the good people of the great state of Texas, so he seems to think that Texans are really, really dumb.
Section 3 is really interesting. It allows the federal government to impose preclearance on a state or county if it is found to have enacted intentionally discriminatory voting measures. You might think that “intentionally discriminatory” would be a tough bar to clear, but remember that this is Texas we’re talking about.
The last time that the courts looked at Texas’ redistricting plans, they found them to be “intentionally discriminatory.” Shocking, I know. So when Perry talks about the redistricting plans reflecting the “will of the people of Texas,” it means that he doesn’t just think that Texas are stupid. He thinks they’re racist, too.
* Yes, I know I quoted half the post I linked. I am not repentant.