• September 22, 2014

Attorney general targets Texas over court’s voting rights ruling

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 4:30 am

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration opened an aggressive new front in the battle over voter protection Thursday, singling out Texas for legal action and promising broader efforts to come after last month’s Supreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act.

It was the administration’s first legal response to counter the justices’ 5-4 decision, but Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that “it will not be our last.”

In a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Holder called the Voting Rights Act “the cornerstone of modern civil rights law” and said “we cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve.”

Texas Republicans suggested the administration effort was more about politics.

“This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda,” Sen. John Cornyn said after Holder’s speech.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the Obama administration seemed to be “sowing racial divide” and accused the administration of joining Texas Democrats with an eye on the 2014 elections. Abbott is running for governor.

The Supreme Court, on June 25, 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.

Holder said the first Justice Department move would be to ask a federal court in San Antonio to require advance approval for voting changes in Texas, a state riven with political battles, from redistricting to voter ID requirements.

“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,” Holder said.

The Justice Department is asking that a preapproval requirement in Texas apply for 10 years and “beyond 10 years in the event of further discriminatory acts,” the department said in a court filing in San Antonio.

The separate provision of the Voting Rights Act that Holder is invoking may be a difficult tool for the Obama administration to use.

A handful of jurisdictions were subjected to advance approval of election changes through the Civil Rights Act provision it is relying on, but a court first must find that a state or local government engaged in intentional discrimination under the Constitution’s 14th or 15th amendments, or the jurisdiction has to admit to discrimination. Unlike in other parts of the voting law, the discriminatory effect of an action is not enough to trigger the so-called bail-in provision.

In the Texas case, the department is not directly intervening but is filing what’s known as a statement of interest in support of private groups that filed suit.

“The fact that intervention in Texas is the Department of Justice’s first action to protect voting rights” following the Supreme Court decision “speaks volumes about the seriousness of Texas’ actions,” said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat from San Antonio and chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which is a plaintiff in the San Antonio case.

North Carolina may become another target for the administration’s initiative.

On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval to sweeping election law changes, including a requirement that voters present photo Identification at the polls and a shortening of early voting by a week.

In Texas, Holder said, there is a history of “pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities.”

Based on evidence of intentional racial discrimination presented last year in a redistricting case, “we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices,” Holder said.

In its filing in San Antonio, the Justice Department said “in every redistricting cycle since 1970, courts have similarly found that one or more of Texas’ statewide redistricting plans violated the voting guarantees of the Constitution or provisions of the Voting Rights Act.”

A three-judge panel in San Antonio is looking at Texas voting maps for state and congressional redistricting since 2011, when the court threw out boundaries drawn by a then-GOP supermajority in the statehouse.

An ensuing legal battle between the state and a coalition of minority rights groups upset the 2012 elections in Texas, delaying party primaries that ultimately used temporary maps drawn by the court.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2 comments:

  • Eliza posted at 9:23 am on Sat, Jul 27, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 770


    You have to wonder why such an argument is being put up by the white house ,the DOJ, members of our governing bodies and any other liberal organization about something so simple, and right for the country, as wanting voters to have proper ID to show they are legally eligible to vote in U.S. elections.
    The below article which has been heavily researched, will show the importance.

    Why should someone who is not a U.S. Citizen be able to decide who should run our government ,state or federal. Enough of Americas benefits are given to those who aren't citizens already, why should they be allowed one of our most scared rights, the right to vote as Americans in American Elections.
    We certainly wouldn't be able to do the same in the countries where these people officially belong.

    For further reading of this very knowledgeable article, place the below title in search station.
    It tells the reader things that they will not find out through government decision makers.


    The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting
    at the Heritage Foundation web site

    -------------------------------------

    July 10, 2008

    In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two-year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens.[1] While that may not seem like many, just 3 percent of registered voters would have been more than enough to provide the winning presidential vote margin in Florida in 2000. Indeed, the Census Bureau estimates that there are over a million illegal aliens in Florida,[2] and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has prosecuted more non-citizen voting cases in Florida than in any other state.[

    Florida is not unique. Thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states, and tens if not hundreds of thousands in total may be present on the voter rolls nationwide. These numbers are significant: Local elections are often decided by only a handful of votes, and even national elections have likely been within the margin of the number of non-citizens illegally registered to vote.


     
  • 7gentxn posted at 8:14 am on Fri, Jul 26, 2013.

    7gentxn Posts: 32

    Heinrich Holder is at it again!