Fifth Circuit Judge Assails DOJ 'Arrogance' in Voting Rights Case

, Texas Lawyer


Departing from his colleagues in a redistricting ruling, Judge Jerry Smith said the DOJ lawyers left the impression that they viewed state officials as "backwoods hayseed bigots."

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What's being said

  • Hayslaw

    Having watched how Justice Smith treats counsel at oral argument in multiple case, I find his outrage disingenuous. He is rude, short, and in general does not display anything close to decent judicial temperament even when the case is about something innocuous. When the case concerns a politicized issue, he adds his bias to his boorish attitude.

  • John H Bennett Jr

    Jerry Smith is a fine person and a very conscientious jurist. He respects the rights of minorities. I doubt he misinterpreted the demeanor and attitude of counsel when he saw an "arrogance and condescension" sufficient to merit his comment.

  • Delwin Goss

    Today‘s Texas politicians are a constant stream of embarrassment to this 8th generation Texan. When I took Texas History classes way back in the 7th grade some 50 something years ago; We learned about gerrymandering. It still blows me away that in the year 2017 Texas politicians are as slimy and as racist as they were 120 years ago.. How embarrassing.

  • Native Texan

    Dear Dallas Texan and True Texan: the State lost this case and DOJ has won portions or all of other voter suppression cases in Texas. The DOJ is interested because the state has a history of voter suppression. Does winning count as cattle?

  • showmethefacts

    While the state‘s attorneys were not backwoods goons, they are arguing for voter suppression and their claims of voter fraud would make eye-rolling hard to hold back. Republicans have admitted that their voter ID laws are intended to stop US citizens, largely people of color, from exercising their right to vote. The party of hate cannot win fair and square, so it has devised ways to keep the poor, the elderly and minorities from having the right documentation to cast a ballot. I had two lovely great aunts ( white ladies, and conservative Southerners at that) who never had driver‘s licenses and lived in a rural community where it would have been difficult for them to get photo IDs. They voted, without photo IDs, until they passed away in the 1980s and 1990s -- but they could not have voted under the rules the Republicans wish to impose. Imagine how much more difficult it is for people living in barrios on the border and in areas where there is no public transport. Voter suppression is shameful and the voter ID laws are the modern day versions of the poll tax. It is embarassing that lawyers on the public payroll are required to defend the voter ID law, and disturbing that Justice Smith would (a) dissent and (b) go on an intemperate tirade that is far worse that whatever he observed about the DOJ lawyers‘ attitudes.

  • True Texan

    Judge Smith was absolutely correct! The DOJ for the last 8 years has continually ignored the law in so many areas, but they felt the need to jump into a case that was moot on it‘s face! Typical of Obama‘s and Holder‘s DOJ, as we say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle"!

  • Dallas Texan

    "It was obvious, from the start, that the DOJ attorneys viewed state officials and the legislative majority and their staffs as a bunch of backwoods hayseed bigots who bemoan the abolition of the poll tax and pine for the days of literacy tests and lynchings." If the shoe fits...

  • Native Texan

    Extremely embarrassing and intemperate remarks by Judge Jerry Smith. Doesn‘t understand his job does not include publishing "personal impressions based on demeanor and attitude." Very childish.

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