On the face of it, the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act would seem to end the process of the government preclearing Southern states to change voting laws. But that doesn't matter to Eric Holder.
The attorney general, not willing to wait for Congress to fill the gaps in the Voting Rights Act left by the Supreme Court, wants to make sure Texas gets permission from the federal government before it changes its voting laws. This move was announced Thursday morning in a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia — the first move of what's likely to be many from the Justice Department in order to regain its grasp on states it feels target minorities.
But didn't the Court forbid this type of thing?
Here's what happened: Following the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — which sets a formula to determine the states and jurisdictions that have a history of discriminatory voting laws that are subject to preclearance from the Justice Department — Holder is using a little-known and rarely used provision in the Voting Rights Act to move forward for the time being.
"This is the department's first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder said on Thursday. "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 subject states to preclearance as necessary. My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against such discrimination wherever it is found."