Texas was sued on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice over the state’s voter identification law and redistricting maps, which some minority groups say are discriminatory, ABC7 News reported on Aug. 23.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that Texas was sued because the Justice Department wants to protect the rights of all Americans to vote and that it’s going to strengthen efforts to challenge state voting laws.
Texas being sued reflects a broader growing political showdown over electoral rights.
The Justice Department sued Texas in particular because it has gone through years of litigation about voter ID laws and redistricting maps. Federal judges in Washington, D.C., have determined that these laws and redistricting maps would either indirectly disenfranchise minorities and the poor or intentionally discriminate minorities.
In addition, Texas is the only state found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities in this decade's round of redistricting, and the state was banned from enforcing either law. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring revisions to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 took away the judges' authority to intervene.
The Texas voter ID lawsuit is an indication that the Obama administration may crack down on voting rights cases in other states, too, including North Carolina, the Washington Post said, and more states may be sued.
In June, the Supreme Court invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act that had forced certain jurisdictions to receive approval from the Justice Department or a federal court before changing their voting laws. The ruling did not preclude the Obama administration from using other sections of the law, though.
Meanwhile, Texas Republicans said the move to sue Texas smacks of federal interference and vowed to fight the lawsuit.
Holder released a statement about Texas being sued by the Department of Justice.
“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” Holder said. “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.”