Democrats are stuck in a vicious cycle on voting rights: They’re struggling to pass legislation to expand them, so they depend on the attorney general to safeguard protections. But the Justice Department’s legal efforts are often complicated and protracted. To streamline them, federal prosecutors need more tools from Congress and in the meantime, meaningful reforms remain elusive.
Now, despite the recurring defeats, Senate Democrats plan to refocus their energy on sidelined priorities like voter protections in early 2022 as they also work to revive President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.
As a pair of voting rights bills remain in congressional limbo, the Biden Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland is filing new lawsuits to overturn what they argue are restrictive laws enacted by GOP-led states and gerrymandered districts. The latest lawsuit from earlier this month takes aim at Texas’ new redistricting plan.
But neither approach is certain and each in part depends on the other. DOJ’s efforts are more limited without congressional approval of more oversight tools.