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Frivolous LA suit part of far left's long game

If you can’t win by playing by the rules, try to use undemocratic means to change the rules, a frivolous suit aimed at reshaping Louisiana’s congressional districts illustrates – but with an eye on the long game.

An arm of national Democrats, the National Redistricting Foundation, recently filed suit in Louisiana plus two other states, alleging in all three instances the drawn congressional districts violate voting rights. In all cases, the proportion of black residents exceeds the proportion of seats held by black Democrats in Congress as set up by the respective districting plans.

This leads to complaints by plaintiffs that they can’t elect the candidates they want as their votes are “diluted,” referring to prohibitions in Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Their only problem is, their position has been litigated for over three decades and found wanting.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Thornburg v. Gingles and a few following cases set out standards to determine whether “voter dilution through submergence” occurs, and Louisiana’s districting, which creates five majority-white and one majority-black district in the state with about a third black population, easily passes muster. Perhaps most embarrassingly, when in 2011 those received preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice (the necessity of which was rendered moot by a 2013 Court case), its leader then, former Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, now leads the NRF.

So then why bring it? Because the far left that has taken control of national Democrats has a crusading belief that it will triumph and strategizes far into the future. And it thinks it has both a judicial and political strategy that could force the ideology behind the suit into becoming constitutional law.

From the judicial angle, it hopes cases already heard and other potentially subject to Court hearing and disposition will lead to a favorable outcome. Specifically, a pair about which the Court currently deliberates they desire to warp the Constitution into disallowing partisan gerrymandering – if not this month, then perhaps within the next few years. That would bolster the ability to claim voter dilution by race if voter dilution by party becomes a relevant districting criterion, since blacks historically since the 1960s have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Politically speaking, by creating and publicizing the illusion of “unfairness” in drawing lines, they hope to discredit the process used by Louisiana and most states to do so, by the state’s majoritarian branches. Because they more often lose than win the battle of ideas as reflected in election results, they like their chances better with so-called “neutral” and/or “nonpartisan” redistricting commission – which in fact never are neutral nor immune from partisan manipulation.

Either or both ways to change the rules, it will take time and pressure for any payoff. The Louisiana suit is just one element of the lengthy war they plan to wage. That’s why the suit was filed.

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