The Justice Department went to court again on Thursday to challenge the legality of Texas’s voter ID law — a law that Texas says it has put back into effect since the Supreme Court freed the state from federal court supervision. In that new lawsuit and in a new maneuver in a pending case over new election districting maps for Texas, the Department will be asking that the state be placed back under court oversight over all of its election laws, for at least a decade. Both new moves were announced ina press release. The legal filings are not yet available. “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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs.” Holder said the Texas filings were “the latest action to protect voting rights, but will not be the last.” That statement may have been a signal that the Obama administration will also mount a legal challenge to the sweeping new North Carolina law limiting voting rights in that state.
In the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 25 in an Alabama case, Shelby County v. Holder, Texas and other state and local governments that had been required to get legal clearance in Washington for any changes in their election laws were spared from that duty, at least for the time being. The Court made the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s Section 5, the preclearance provision, unenforceable by striking down the coverage formula for that section.
The Justice Department had previously signaled that it would make energetic efforts in the courts to prevent Texas from enforcing new voting laws or methods until it gets advance approval from either a federal court or the attorney general, by applying a seldom-used part of the 1965 law – Section 3, the so-called “bail in” option. (That advance review process is similar to, but different in detail, from what occurred under Section 5.)
Full Article: U.S. sues Texas over voter ID (FURTHER UPDATED) : SCOTUSblog.