John Gore, an attorney who has worked to defend laws that critics say are designed to weaken the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, was selected by POTUS to serve as a senior civil rights official at the Department of Justice.
Gore’s new role as POTUS’s choice for deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is notable because he will lead the division that oversees civil rights laws, including voter suppression issues. POTUS and his nominee to lead the Justice Department, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, are strong supporters of voting restrictions such as voter identification.
The appointment of Gore represents a dramatic break from the the civil rights legacy of the outgoing Obama Justice Department, which has filed suits against voter restrictions in Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, and other states. Under Obama, the civil rights division was restructured to take on more cases, with former Attorney General Eric Holder describing the team as the agency’s “crown jewel.”
In stark contrast, Gore has worked to defend Republican redistricting laws in Virginia, South Carolina, New York, and Florida — including maps that opponents say were drawn to maximize Republican seats in Congress and frequently employed a strategy of packing African-American voters into a single district to dilute their voting power in neighboring districts.
In Florida and Virginia, Gore also intervened on behalf of Republicans to defend new voter ID laws, rules civil rights group have assailed for reducing participation rates among African-Americans.