Attorney General launches new voting rights battle

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WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.

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.

It is the department's first action to protect voting rights following the Supreme Court's decision on June 25, "but it will not be our last," Holder said in prepared remarks.

"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 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.

The Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, threw out the most powerful part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, the law that became a major turning point in black Americans' struggle for equal rights and political power.

The attorney general called the Voting Rights Act "the cornerstone of modern civil rights law" and said that "we cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve."

Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

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  • Gun rule, "states' rights","stand your ground","illegal aliens","young punks",(especially those with hoodies)"vote stealers","gang members", are all synonymous for the racist, anti-poor, anti-working class thrusts of today.
    All are inter-related.
    It is positive and proper that government officials like attorney general Holder have asserted themselves to protect order and peace that organizations like ALEC and the John Birch Society seek to disrupt, reversing social progress of at least 50 yrs.
    Pre-approval and preclearance are the ways to counter these assaults at the voting both, protecting our rights to make laws on the streets, from the voting booths, throughout the land.
    Repeal and reversal are the ways to stop gun and vigilante rule on the streets-the infamous"stand your ground" laws, "kill Trayvon Martin" laws, which are really "open season" laws to murder and terrorize traditionally oppressed groups, especially indigenous, Latino and African derived groups, from Texas, to Alaska, from California to New York. We should all be sure that this "kill Trayvon Martin" craze will apply to immigrants, trade unionists, the clergy activists, the anti-racists, the communists, and the gay and women rights activists.
    Rulers of ALEC will assign half of the working people to kill the other half of working people-as is their goal.
    We must support government leaders who make those policies like the one the Attorney General does here-now.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 07/29/2013 12:07pm (2 years ago)

  • Since General Granger first emancipated the slaves after the Civil War, Texans, especially those with more melanin, have depended exclusively on the federal government for whatever racial justice they can get. When Attorney General Holder announced that he would go after Texas' redistricting and its voter suppression law, the Republicans running the state are trying to outdo each other with their screams.
    Texas voters don't register by party. We just show up for whichever primary we choose. Since Republicans have dominated all statewide elections since 1996, today's hopefuls think all they have to do is win the Republican primary, and that means swinging as far to the right as possible. Senator Cruz is touring the country right now to build his presidential race.
    Attorney General Abbott, who spent his entire time in office launching lawsuits against the federal government, is getting ready to run for Governor. His yells about "states rights" are, so far, the loudest!
    --jim lane in Dallas

    Posted by jim lane, 07/26/2013 3:53pm (2 years ago)

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