English: Eric Holder, Attorney General Nominee

English: Eric Holder, Attorney General Nominee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Hill

Texas GOP pans Holder move

By Mike Lillis and Bernie Becker 07/25/13 01:21 PM ET

The lawmakers say Thursday’s surprise move by Attorney General Eric Holder asking a court to require “pre-clearance” of new Texas laws steps on states’ rights, wastes taxpayer dollars and defies the Supreme Court’s June decision to scrap a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

“Once again it’s the federal government telling the states what they can and can’t do,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). “Even after some defeats on the Voting Rights Act in the Supreme Court, the administration still continues to thwart the will of the people of Texas.

“We’re ending up wasting the taxpayers’ money when the court has already telegraphed that the Voting Rights Act is constitutionally infirm,” he added.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) argued that Holder “is trying to skirt the Supreme Court law” and “single out Texas.”

“My belief is [the] Voting Rights Act and those laws ought to be applied equally across states, and not played for political games, which is exactly what I see happening here,” Brady said. “Eric Holder [is] just singling us out – just skipped through the alphabet and happened to land on Texas.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) also panned Holder’s move, saying it fits the pattern of an agency that Republicans have long-criticized as over-stepping its legal boundaries.

“It’s pretty much par for the course with this Department of Justice,” he said.

Speaking in Philadelphia Thursday, Holder announced that the DOJ will ask a court to require Texas to get federal approval before newly passed voting rules, including a voter ID requirement, take effect.

The Voting Rights Act stipulated that such pre-clearance occur in Texas, but June’s Supreme Court ruling scrapped the coverage formula, effectively eliminating the pre-clearance requirement.

Holder said Thursday that “evidence of intentional racial discrimination” in Texas – “as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized” – is indication that minority voters in the state need extra protections.

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KVUE

Associated Press

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Updated today at 11:07 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voter protections, a response to the Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to the Voting Rights Act.

In a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Holder said that as its first move, the department is asking a federal court in San Antonio to require the state of Texas to obtain advance approval before putting future political redistricting changes in place.

The attorney general called the Voting Rights Act “the cornerstone of modern civil rights law” and said that “we cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve.”

The Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, threw out the most powerful part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, the law that became a major turning point in black Americans’ struggle for equal rights and political power.

The move in Texas is the Justice Department’s first action to further safeguard voting rights following the Supreme Court decision on June 25, said Holder, “but it will not be our last.”

“Even as Congress considers updates to the Voting Rights Act in light of the court’s ruling, we plan, in the meantime, to fully utilize the law’s remaining sections to ensure that the voting rights of all American citizens are protected,” Holder said.

The requirement to obtain advance approval from either the department or a federal court before changing voting laws is available under the Voting Rights Act when intentional discrimination against voters is found. If the court in San Antonio sides with the Justice Department position, the preapproval requirement would apply for 10 years.

The section of the Voting Rights Act Holder invoked can be applied to all types of voting changes — from moving the location of a polling place to imposing stringent requirements such as photo identification at the polls.

On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval to sweeping election law changes, including requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls and shortening early voting by a week.

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