In a 77-page brief filed this morning in the D.C. case, the State of Texas more strongly than ever raised questions about whether the Justice Department’s retrogression standard results in a constitutional violation.
Calling the DOJ’s ‘functional analysis’ standard, ‘vague and unworkable,’ the state claims ‘actually exacerbates- rather than ameliorates- tension between the [Voting Rights] Act and the Constitution.’
The state argues the DOJ standard unconstitutionally subjects states required to seek preclearance to costly burdens that other non-covered jurisdictions are not subject to.
The state also contends that the functional analysis standard improperly forces states to elevate “considerations of race above traditional, race-neutral redistricting principals [sic]” and “exceed[s] Congress’s enumerated powers.” In fact, the state argues, the “DOJ’s approach is ripe for a challenge claiming that it unfairly discriminates against Anglo voters in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee.”
The D.C. panel takes up the issue tomorrow when it holds an oral argument on the state’s request that court grant judgment in its favor without a trial. But this issue ultimately may be one for the Supreme Court.
Here’s the state’s brief: