The Supreme Court did not completely gut the Voting Rights Act (yet). So Attorney Geneeral Holder will seek to enforce the Act by relying on a different section to ask for a court order requiring Texas to obtain pre-approval from the Department of Justice for all changes to voting rights. This is good.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voter protections.TPM
In a speech to the Urban League in Philadelphia, the attorney general said the Justice Department is asking a federal court in San Antonio to require the state of Texas to obtain approval in advance before putting future voting changes in place.
This requirement to obtain “pre-approval” from either the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes to voting laws is available when intentional voting discrimination is found.
Holder said that based on evidence of intentional racial discrimination presented last year in the redistricting case in Texas, “we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.”
In Texas, there is a history of “pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities,” Holder added.
Expect Republican calls for secession and impeachment of Holder soon.
Update I: From Gary Norton in the comemnts, text from the speech:
And today I am announcing that the Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. This request to “bail in” the state – and require it to obtain “pre-approval” from either the Department or a federal court before implementing future voting changes – is available under the Voting Rights Act when intentional voting discrimination is found. Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented last year in the redistricting case, Texas v. Holder – as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized – we believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.
This is the Department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, 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. My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against discrimination wherever it is found. But let me be very clear: these remaining tools are no substitute for legislation that must fill the void left by the Supreme Court’s decision. This issue transcends partisanship, and we must work together. We cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve. And, in our broader efforts, we will continue to look far beyond America’s ballot boxes – to our schools, military bases, and border areas; our immigrant communities, our criminal justice system, and even our workplaces – in order to advance the fight for equality and against injustice.