Look Out Below

With the 5-4 decision striking down Section 4’s formulas for designating covered jurisdictions underSection 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it’s now up to Congress to modify the formulas.

On the assumption that the House Republicans will only pass the most narrow formula (or simply refuse to pass any formula), this is effectively the end of Section 5 as a preemptive bar to infringing voting rights. So, get ready for electoral shenanigans at the local level. Did the state legislature approve a redistricting plan that dilutes minority votes on your county commission? Or that packs all of the minority voters into one congressional district? Or that helps fundamentalists or segregationists dominate your school board? Well, now it’s up to you to sue to overturn such a plan, because the Justice Department can’t block it in advance.

Good luck with that.