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July 25, 2013

Eric Holder Announces The Department Of Justice Will Sue Texas Under The Voting Rights Act

Of course.

In a surprise move, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a legal effort today that could force the state of Texas to again submit any election law changes to the federal government for pre-approval, as the Justice Department tries to move past a recent Supreme Court ruling that set aside such a regime for Texas and other states in the South.

"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 told a conference of the National Urban League in Philadelphia.

To be clear, this will be done under a section of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court didn't touch in its landmark Shelby County decision. As a reminder, in that case the Court ruled that the formula Congress used to determine which jurisdictions were the subject of "pre-clearance" was out of date. Holder's announcement is that the DoJ will try and have a federal court "bail in" Texas to a pre-clearance program because of current discriminatory acts.

Part of Section III of the VRA:

SEC. 3. (a) Whenever the Attorney General institutes a proceeding under any statute to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment in any State or political subdivision the court shall authorize the appointment of Federal examiners by the United States Civil Service Commission in accordance with section 6 to serve for such period of time and for such political subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment (1) as part of any interlocutory order if the court determines that the appointment of such examiners is necessary to enforce such guarantees or (2) as part of any final judgment if the court finds that violations of the fifteenth amendment justifying equitable relief have occurred in such State or subdivision: Provided, That the court need not authorize the appointment of examiners if any incidents of denial or abridgement of the right to vote on account of race or color (1) have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.

While this isn't a lawless decision by Holder in that he's ignoring the Supreme Court's decision, it's clearly harassment meant to gin up Obama's base of racial grievance mongers.

It's going to take a long time to get this to court, let alone through any appeals regardless of which side wins. Hopefully long before then a new President and AG will drop the whole thing.

In the meantime, the process is the punishment.

Defending Texas in this suit will be state Attorney General Gregg Abbott who happens to be running for Governor to replace Rick Perry. I'm pretty sure getting to fight Eric Holder in court to defend the honor of Texas counts as an in-kind contribution to Abbott's campaign.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:29 PM

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