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The Justice Report: DOJ deletes language on racial gerrymandering and press freedoms from internal manual

This is the way that politics creep: on the down low.

After this weekend, the GOP is fundraising on the back of Michelle Wolf's blistering White House Correspondents Dinner set, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this news become a part of some Democratic campaigning. Per a Buzzfeed report, the Department Of Justice has removed language from its internal manual for federal prosecutors regarding protecting against racial gerrymandering (from a section on Voting Rights Act enforcement). The DOJ also removed an entire subsection which detailed the "constitutional requirements of a free press and public trials." This was all done under an order from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to update the manual, which hasn't been modified since the '90s.

Changes to this internal manual don't change the law, per se. The DOJ's prosecutors' manual is often cited by attorneys in legal documents and gives guidance in knotty issues of policy and procedure, but the underlying principles (I.e. Free speech and civil rights) are rooted in the constitution and Congressional legislation (the 1st and 14th and 15th amendments, along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965).

Trump's DOJ felt all this language was redundant, given the Constitution's clear position on these rights, hence the delete. Did the language need to be deleted? No. Does it change the law? It does not. But it is the sort of thing that puts people on notice.

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