The Washington Post reports in today’s edition that Attorney General Eric Holder overruled lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who ruled that the DC voting rights bill violates the Constitution:
Justice Department lawyers concluded in an unpublished opinion earlier this year that the historic D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress is unconstitutional, according to sources briefed on the issue. But Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who supports the measure, ordered up a second opinion from other lawyers in his department and determined that the legislation would pass muster.
A finding that the voting rights bill runs afoul of the Constitution could complicate an upcoming House vote and make the measure more vulnerable to a legal challenge that probably would reach the Supreme Court if it is enacted. The bill, which would give the District a vote in the House for the first time, appeared to be on the verge of passing last month before stalling when pro-gun legislators tried to attach an amendment weakening city gun laws. Supporters say it could reach the House floor in May.
In deciding that the measure is unconstitutional, lawyers in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel matched a conclusion reached by their Bush administration counterparts nearly two years ago, when a lawyer there testified that a similar bill would not withstand legal attack.
Holder rejected the advice and sought the opinion of the solicitor general’s office, where lawyers told him that they could defend the legislation if it were challenged after its enactment.
Ed Morrissey asks “What part of “support and defend the Constitution” does Holder not understand?“… I’m wondering the same thing, the Constitution is quite plain on the matter. The Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion is not in any way out of line or rogue it’s the same position that the OLC has held since at least 1963.
Ed Whelan was more here.
- Attorney General Holder is Subverting the Constitution – Kim Priestap, Wizbang