Republicans really hate it when anyone fights to make sure that every American should have the right to vote, and they're really not happy with Eric Holder's announcement this Thursday that he's going to fight Texas on voting rights, regardless of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court. Fox regular Nina Easton went so far as to claim that Holder's decision was just an effort to "gin up" the black and Latino vote, because, you know... too many of those damned black and brown people are voting already, so therefore there could be no voter suppression going on.
EASTON: Well, I think this is about politics as Cornyn said. It's sort of an ongoing electoral strategy by this administration to gin up the black and Latino vote. And look at what he... the end run he's trying to make around the Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court decision basically updated the voting rights law by saying, look, these nine states that were subject to federal review, it's less of a problem now.
It's not a... in fact in most of these states, not only is black voter registration higher than white voters' registration, black turnout was higher than white turnout in the last election. So, this is clearly, and clearly the President made it... he said he didn't like this decision when it came down, and they're going to make an end run around it. Voter ID laws, the idea that these are discriminating, I think is just a liberal ruse to again, gin up the vote.
The usually hapless Juan Williams actually did a fairly decent job at pushing back at a lot of what Easton said during the panel segment on Bret Baier's show this Thursday and did a nice job of explaining that the hurdles these laws put the elderly and the poor through to get their "free" ID's can actually end up being quite expensive. Regular fixture and conservative curmudgeon Charles Krauthammer of course took Easton's side and defended the policies.
Steve Benen has more on Holder's decision here: AG Holder to fight Texas on voting rights:
When the Voting Rights Act was intact, changes to voting laws in the Lone Star State would need to be cleared with the Justice Department in advance of being implemented, but with the law gutted by a narrow Supreme Court majority, GOP officials in Texas assumed the Justice Department is no longer relevant, and they could do as they pleased.
The nation's Attorney General apparently believes otherwise.
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in late June that weakened the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will use what's left of the law to go after what it considers discriminatory practices.
And the first target will be Texas, in a dispute over new boundaries drawn by the Republican legislature for congressional and legislative districts.
Holder told National Urban League this morning that the Justice Department's Civil Rights division will urge a federal judge in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a pre-clearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act -- a part of the law that survived the Supreme Court's ruling.
It's not that Holder is ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling; it's that Holder believes the ruling still leaves him some room to maneuver. "We believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a pre-clearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices," the A.G. said.
What's the basis for this? We'll know more as the process unfolds, but it appears that the Justice Department believes that under the remaining provisions of the VRA, when "intentional voting discrimination" is found, these changes to voting rights cannot be permitted to continue.
And because Texas' voter-ID law is very likely predicated on discriminatory grounds, Holder wants a federal court to intervene now -- before voter suppression can begin.
As the Austin Statesman reported this morning, the Justice Department's move "marks the first federal action connected to voting rights" since the Supreme Court's ruling, though as Holder added this morning, "It will not be our last."
So, does the case have a credible shot?
The A.G. probably wouldn't be pushing this if he didn't think he has a reasonable chance of success, and as Ian Millhiser noted, Texas' efforts at voter suppression are very familiar to Holder and his team. Read on...
Here's to hoping that Holder is successful with this effort and that it puts a stop to what we're seeing go on in other states as well. I also hope that we see another backlash to these attempts at restricting the vote in the mid-term elections similar to what we saw during the presidential election. Republicans used to try to do this stuff on the sly and hoped that no one noticed. Now that they think it's alright to just openly try to steal elections by restricting voting rights, there ought to be a price paid for their efforts.
h/t Media Matters