Holder declares war on Texas
“In a move that drew the ire of Texas officials, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday the Justice Department will ask a San Antonio-based federal court to force Texas to get permission from the federal government before it can make any additional changes to its voting and election laws,” Fox News reported on Thursday afternoon.
Whoa, wait a second. Didn’t the Supreme Court put a stop to that nonsense? Alas, no. The Supreme Court struck down the part of the Voting Rights Act that determined which states would be judged perpetually guilty for racist sins of the past. Holder’s new distraction from the boiling storm cloud of Obama scandals relies on a different part of the Act, and he vowed more persecutions will be forthcoming:
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.
So rest assured, Texans, you will no longer be treated like a second-class state because of what happened 40 years ago! Eric Holder says you’re a pack of racists now.
Specifically, the recently ratified redistricting maps are supposedly “biased and under-represent minorities,” according to Texas Democrats.
As you can imagine, this did not sit well with officials from Texas:
“Once again, the Obama Administration is demonstrating utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn accused Holder of trying to go around the high court. “This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda,” Cornyn said.
I haven’t seen a statement from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott yet, but I’m sure one will be forthcoming, since he’s not only destined to fight Holder’s move in court, but he’s running for governor. [Update - see response from Abbott below.] Abbott will have to make himself heard over the incoming artillery fire from True the Vote, the ballot integrity watchdogs whose abuse at the hands of the IRS, and quite a few other agencies of the Obama Administration, doesn’t seem very important to AG Holder:
“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,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “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.”
“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.
“Every American voter deserves to have his or her vote counted – and not diluted by fraud or error. The DOJ just put itself between the voters of Texas and their guaranteed constitutional and civil rights.
“True the Vote has watched as Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly disregarded the rule of law,” Engelbrecht continued. “We understand that this Department of Justice does not believe that protection of voters’ rights should be colorblind.
“Texas will stand its ground in San Antonio – that’s a promise.”
Did Ms. Engelbrecht just tweak Holder over the Obama Administration’s dopey crusade against Stand Your Ground laws? Oh yes, it’s on.
This legal circus keep things nice and confusing at the ballot box during the 2014 elections. We wouldn’t want anyone imposing common-sense voter ID laws that take advantage of modern technology to secure ballot integrity, now would we? Only racists want such things.
I can understand the political motivations of those who oppose ballot integrity, but the efforts at building some sort of logical argument against it always bring a chuckle. Apparently the voting booth is the only place in America where the government should make no serious effort to verify the identity of citizens. Sometimes we’re told that we should somehow prove a gigantic wave of vote fraud exists before we take any precautions – in other words, we can’t worry about securing the next election until we prove beyond reasonable doubt that the last one was stolen. That’s an especially strange argument given that ballot-box shenanigans are basically impossible to correct after the fact – even if a few miscreants are punished, the election will remain good and stolen. This would seem like a compelling argument for taking the best available security precautions before any votes are cast.
Holder’s renewed Voting Rights Act assault is a heck of a way to treat Texas, the state that’s been creating so many of the jobs that Barack Obama loves to take credit for. He just did it again yesterday. He should at least send Governor Perry a cookie basket or something.
Update: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in a conference call with reporters, as related by the Texas Tribune: “I believe the Obama administration is joining with the Democrat Party in the state of Texas in a lawsuit aimed at the 2014 elections, rather than trying to protect the rights of minorities. I believe this is an abuse of the Voting Rights Act for partisan political purposes.”