Monday, March 16, 2009

Bloomberg Still Waiting On Justice Dept's O.K.

Mayor Bloomberg is already spending millions on his re-election campaign, yet it could all be for naught. The Justice Department has yet to make a decision to allow the term limits extension to go through. The courts have given him a pass, thanks to Christine Quinn the Council let it pass but it must check out with the Voting Rights Act first and the deadline is tomorrow.

From The NY Daily News:

The Department of Justice's section for voting rights must decide by Tuesday whether the October term limits extension will hurt minority voters.

If it does, every two-term incumbent in the November elections would be suddenly ineligible - sending Bloomberg and a boatload of other politicians on a retirement cruise.

The city Law Department filed 1,789 pages with Justice to make sure that doesn't happen, saying that "term limits by definition affect all candidates and their constituencies in precisely the same manner" without any racial overtones.

Norman Siegel and Randy Mastro - lawyers on the other side of the issue - sent their own sheaf of paper to Justice pointing out what should be glaringly obvious to anyone who looks at the City Council: Without term limits, incumbents stay in their seats.

"Since 1993, no minority candidate has ever unseated a white incumbent for any municipal office in New York City," Mastro said. "It's a textbook case of a civil rights violation."

While the Bush Administration's DoJ would haven't thought twice about giving Bloomberg his chance to hold onto power, the Obama Administration might have other ideas. They may also listen to several local Democratic Members of Congress who have voiced their own concerns about the Mayor and Council's term limit extension. Ultimately though, it comes down to whether the city's law violates the Voting Rights Act and as long as the DoJ analyzes the situation, they'll quash Bloomberg's (and many incumbent City Council Members) third term ambitions.