On Friday, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives began an inquiry into several Trump administration decisions. Among these decisions is the attempt to present questions on citizenship on the 2020 census, and the rollback of decisions made in multiple, key voter rights lawsuits.
Representative Jerrod Nadler heads the committee, and in his communication with U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, demanded that the Justice Department publicize all internal records relating to a few specific voting rights issues. Some would claim that these and other voter rights laws are rarely enforced, and Jerrod Nadler expressed this concern to the Attorney General as well.
The intention of his contact with U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is to uncover records relating to two reversals in Justice Department policy. The Justice Department was previously opposed to the policy enacted by Ohio state to purge voters from the rolls if they don’t vote often enough, and the Texas policy of requiring voter identification. It’s often stated that these laws discriminate against those who lack the resources to easily commute and obtain the necessary ID or vote as often as they would like to. For these reasons, they were opposed under the Obama administration. Under the new administration, however, the opposition has come to an end.
Additionally, the plan to add a citizenship question to the census is highly contentious. Recently, a federal judge ruled against the addition of such a question to the census, which is thus far the highest ruling on the issue. The inquiry seeks access to the communications that led the administration to decide to add such a question and to gain insight into the motives behind it.
While Representative Nadler’s letter poses that the public has many unanswered questions about the purportedly lackadaisical enforcement of voter protections, and requests a full response by the middle of February, the Justice Department has largely declined to comment.
The Supreme Court recently struck down provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, to which Democrats recently responded to with a new bill, the “For The People Act of 2019,”, aimed at reestablishing the provisions in question. States with a history of voter suppression and racial discrimination would be required to obtain federal approval to alter their laws surrounding voting, and it would make Voting Day a federal holiday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his opinion that the bill would create the opportunity for rampant voter fraud.