Courts & the Law, HB2, News, Trump Administration

Trump picks attorney who defended HB2, GOP redistricting to enforce civil rights

Image of John Gore

John M. Gore (photo from Jones Day law firm)

President Donald Trump has chosen John M. Gore, a partner at the law firm Jones Day, to assume the top civil-rights-enforcement position in the Department of Justice.

Gore will become deputy assistant attorney general to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

As New York Magazine points out, Gore does boast some expertise in civil-rights litigation — “specifically, he has considerable experience defending the Republican Party against allegations that its voting laws violate civil rights.”

And if his name sounds familiar to North Carolinians, it may be because his most recent high-profile civil rights case involved the infamous House Bill 2. Gore defended the University of North Carolina in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU challenging the sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation.

That may look a tad more damning to progressive eyes than it actually is: Unlike the state’s Republican leadership, UNC did not defend the law on its merits. Rather, the university argued that it had made no effort to enforce the discriminatory law, and was thus, not a proper target for a legal challenge to the legislation.

Carcaño v. McCrory is still pending in the courts and Gore withdrew from the case last week.

It’s also worth noting that Gore is an expert at defending Republican redistricting, an issue that’s spawned many a lawsuit in North Carolina. There are currently five pending lawsuits over redistricting in the state.

As BuzzFeed notes, Gore defended controversial redistricting plans pushed by Republicans in Florida, New York, and South Carolina in 2012.

He also defended Florida governor Rick Scott’s attempt to purge his state’s voting rolls of non-citizens, shortly before the 2012 election. A federal court later ruled that Scott’s measure had violated the National Voter Registration Act, as it purged many legal voters from the rolls, most of whom happened to belong to left-leaning constituencies.

Hours after Gore’s position was announced Friday, the Department of Justice filed a brief seeking a delay in the federal court in Texas overseeing a longstanding challenge to the state’s voter ID law. The brief cited the government’s change in administration as its reason for the request, according to Buzzfeed.

Under former president Barack Obama’s administration, the Department of Justice opposed that voter ID law in court.

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