WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The Justice Department says it will sue Texas over the state’s voter ID law and will seek to intervene in a lawsuit over the state’s redistricting laws.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the action marks another step in the effort to protect voting rights of all eligible Americans. He said the government will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.
On June 25, the Supreme Court threw out the most powerful part of the Voting Rights Act, whose enactment in 1965 marked a major turning point in black Americans’ struggle for equal rights and political power.
Dallas County commissioners voted 3-2 this week to join the federal challenge to the state’s new voter ID law, which requires voters to present photo ID to vote in person.
County Judge Clay Jenkins and commissioners Theresa Daniel and John Wiley Price, all Democrats, voted for the measure. Democrat Elba Garcia and Republican Mike Cantrell voted against joining the suit.
Both Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released statements condemning the lawsuit. Abbott’s full statement can be read below:
“Just days after the U.S. Department of Justice arrested a Texas woman for illegally voting five times in the same election, the Obama administration is suing to stop Texas’ commonsense voter ID law. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes, but do help prevent illegal votes. Voter IDs have nothing to do with race and they are free to anyone who needs one. Eric Holder’s outrageous claim that voter ID is a racist plot to disenfranchise minority voters is gutter politics and is offensive to the overwhelming majority of Texans of all races who support this ballot integrity measure.
By intervening in the redistricting case, the Obama DOJ is predictably joining with Democrat state legislators and Members of Congress and the Texas Democratic Party, who are already suing the State. Also, by challenging the 2011 redistricting plans, Eric Holder is trying to resurrect a law that was never implemented and no longer exists — and then sue it. The 2011 redistricting plans have been replaced with plans that largely mimic plans drawn by three federal judges.
Just two months ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal preapproval of state election laws. The Court emphasized that the Tenth Amendment empowers states — not the federal government — to regulate elections. The Obama administration continues to ignore the Tenth Amendment and repeated Supreme Court decisions upholding states’ authority to enforce voter identification and redistricting laws.
“The Obama administration needs to move beyond the cynical politics of race and focus on the real issues affecting the daily lives of all Americans, regardless of their race.”
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