Republicans scored a couple of important court victories this week. The Supreme Court rejected an attempt to replace the Wisconsin legislature’s voting district map with one drawn by the Governor that created an extra 7th majority black district. Defenders claimed this was necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
The SCOTUS ruled that this was in error. In Shaw v. Reno (1993), the Court ruled that under the Equal Protection Clause, districting maps that sort voters on the basis of race “are by their very nature odious.” Any state that draws districts based on race has to withstand strict scrutiny in proving that there’s a compelling state interest in doing so, and it must be “narrowly tailored” to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
The larger point here is that the Court reaffirmed that states can’t use the Voting Rights Act as a blanket excuse to gerrymander voting districts based solely on race. That can only be done in a very limited way, and they must have a solid reason for why it’s necessary.
The other court win came in Ohio, where federal District Judge Michael Newman ruled in favor of attorneys general from Arizona, Montana and Ohio in a lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas issued a memo to ICE agents, ordering them to prioritize deportations of illegal aliens who pose a threat to national security or public safety, or who recently came to the US. As for the rest, he wrote, “In exercising our discretion, we are guided by the fact that the majority of undocumented noncitizens who could be subject to removal have been contributing members of our communities for years…The fact that an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them. We will use our discretion and focus our resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”
As you might imagine, federal immigration law doesn’t include an exception for those who’ve managed to dodge deportation long enough (those he euphemically called "removable noncitizens.") The judge quite correctly ruled that Mayorkas was attempting to rewrite the law to make it more to his liking. He cited a quote from a 1952 SCOTUS decision that we should probably embroider onto samplers and send to DC to decorate the entire executive branch:
“In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.”
That’s a bedrock tenet of the Constitution that the Obama Administration regularly flouted and that Biden has continued. Whenever Obama didn’t like a law Congress had passed, his DOJ would simply refuse to enforce it; and when Congress refused to pass a law he wanted, even one he admitted he had no power to enact, he would go ahead and create it anyway by “executive order.” Too many times, activist liberal judges went along with the insane idea that somehow, Obama had the power to create laws by executive order, but Trump didn’t have the power to rescind those unconstitutional edicts.
Let’s hope that this ruling heralds a trend of judges putting the brakes on Biden’s attempts to continue lawless rule by executive order and ignoring laws that he took an oath to enforce.