Citing recent stories involving the Department of Justice, a national organization is vowing not to “sit idly by” as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder continues to file federal lawsuits against Texas’ voter ID law and election procedures.
The Washington Post mentions it seems as if the Obama administration just “… opened an aggressive new front in the battle over voter protection Thursday, singling out Texas for legal action and promising broader efforts to come after last month’s Supreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act.”
The justices’ ruling, in a 5-4 decision, apparently brought on a pledge from Holder to continue to fight the state of Texas on the matter. As a column in the Dallas News put it:
“U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told an audience Thursday at the Urban League’s annual conference in Philadelphia that the Justice Department is seeking to block Texas from implementing voting changes without prior federal approval.”
Out of Houston, the group True the Vote protests Holder’s idea to sue Texas, and states:
“We will not sit idly by and allow the most politically charged Department of Justice in US history to set aside the US constitution and attempt to bully the people of Texas.”
Organizational president Catherine Engelbrecht warns:
“We will meet Attorney General Holder in court and we will do whatever we need to do to advance the cause of voters’ rights for all Americans.”
From the DOJ website, it states that the Voting Rights Act “… codifies and effectuates the 15th Amendment’s permanent guarantee that, throughout the nation, no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color.”
Further, it states:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder held invalid a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.”
Regarding the provision held as invalid, however, it seems the idea of forcing the state to “pre-clear” any changes first with the DOJ was the point that upsets Holder the most.
Engelbrecht and her voting rights organization believe that Holder and the DOJ are further demonstrating how “radical” they have become. According to the organizational statement:
“General Holder’s announcement today demonstrates just how radical the DOJ has become. The same department that criminalizes journalism and fails to prosecute IRS agents who violate the rights of American taxpayers is promising to sue states with taxpayer dollars to block laws passed by elected legislators such as voter ID and citizenship verification.”
But North Carolina seems poised to be the first state to pass a more restrictive voting law after the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a core provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
From a story in Bloomberg, Holder is described as not happy about the Supreme Court’s ruling. He said it was “deeply disappointing — and flawed.”
The story in Bloomberg says concern over the voting law decision comes “… as the U.S. is undergoing a demographic transformation also affecting its politics, with states such as North Carolina moving from being reliably Republican to competitive on the presidential level.”
They cite the University of North Carolina Charlotte Urban Institute’s finding that North Carolina’s Hispanic population has grown from 4.7 percent in 2000 to 8.4 percent in 2010, which is the nation’s sixth-fastest gain.
Also in the article and worth noting is that President Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008, and then lost it in 2012 to Republican Mitt Romney.
And what Holder is saying about the lawsuit in Texas really matters to many listening in:
“This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last.”
The Attorney General says he plans to “fully utilize the law’s remaining sections to subject states to preclearance as necessary.”
Which upsets people like Engelbrecht, who state:
“True the Vote has watched as Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly disregarded the rule of law. We understand that this Department of Justice does not believe that protection of voters’ rights should be colorblind.”