The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will file a new lawsuit against Texas over the state’s controversial voter identification law, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights. The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs.”
The Justice Department had already intervened in a separate case to block Texas’ redistricting map, contending that it, too, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The moves from the Justice Department come in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which required certain states to get permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws, the so-called preclearance requirement. But the high court’s decision left intact Section 2, which gives the federal government similar preclearance powers over jurisdictions with a history of intentional discrimination. The Justice Department is now arguing that the Texas voter ID law was adopted to deliberately disenfranchise voters and therefore violates Section 2.