In Philly, Eric Holder calls for Texas to get OK from feds on voting laws

 Attorney General Eric Holder announced at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Attorney General Eric Holder announced at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. Department of Justice is planning to ask a court to force Texas to get permission from the federal government before changing any voting laws or practices.

This is the department’s first move in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act, which Holder called “deeply disappointing.”

This action “will not be our last,” he said.

Holder made the announcement at the National Urban League conference in Philadelphia, where the audience heartily applauded his decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June threw out the part of the Voting Rights Act that establishes which states must get permission from the federal government before making any voting changes. Hours later, Texas officials said they would start enforcing a voter photo ID law that had been rejected by a federal court.

“Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented just last year in the redistricting case of Texas v. Holder, as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities,” Holder said, “we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a pre-clearance process.”

Officials in the states that once had to get pre-clearance argue that the overturned portion of the Voting Rights Act was outdated and unfairly targeted some parts of the country.

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