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Eric Holder address National Urban League on July 25, 2013
Eric Holder announces the DOJ action in a speech to National Urban League
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday morning that the Department of Justice would seek to "bail in" the state of Texas to the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act, citing "intentional" and "pervasive" racial discrimination in the state's voting laws. Because of that history of discrimination, Holder said, "we believe the state of Texas should be subject" to the VRA's preclearance provision, which would require the state to seek approval from the Federal government before changing any of its voting laws.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the formula used by Congress to determine which states and localities should be subject to preclearance was unconstitutional, but it left intact the preclearance provision itself as well as the mechanism for "bailing in" state and local governments on an ad hoc basis.

After the court's ruling, Texas immediately declared plans to impose new voting restrictions that would make it more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to vote. The state's attorney general gleefully boasted that Eric Holder "could no longer deny" Texas the ability to remake voting rights in the state. With today's news, it appears he may have spoken too quickly.

In his remarks, Holder indicated that the Texas decision was just the beginning of a DOJ inititiative to use the bail in provision.

“This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last,” Mr. Holder said. “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 subject states to preclearance as necessary. My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against such discrimination wherever it is found.”
Holder said the DOJ would file its request to bail in Texas in a Texas federal court. If successful, Texas would be subject to preclearance for the next decade.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 07:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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