Eric Holder’s Mounting War Against Texas
Hans von Spakovsky /
In its mounting war against commonsense election integrity efforts, Eric Holder’s Justice Department announced today that it will be filing a new lawsuit against Texas, claiming that the state’s voter ID law “violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments” to the Constitution. This is no surprise given Eric Holder’s polemical and unsupported claims that voter ID laws are intended to “suppress voting rights.”
The constitutional claim is certainly at odds with the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court held in 2008 that Indiana’s voter ID, which is similar to the Texas law, was not a violation of the Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held it was a reasonable requirement to protect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.
Holder’s claim that voter ID is discriminatory under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is also problematic. Section 2 prohibits any voting qualification that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizens of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” The lawsuit that was filed against Georgia’s voter ID law in 2006 also claimed it violated Section 2, but the plaintiffs lost that case—the federal judge ruled that voter ID was not discriminatory under Section 2. As a result, the Georgia law has been in place since the 2008 presidential election. The turnout of voters in Georgia in the last five years of federal and state elections show that Holder’s claim that such laws discriminate against minority voters is patently untrue. Indiana’s experience shows the same.
It is quite ironic that Holder is launching a Section 2 lawsuit against Texas over its voter ID law. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed 18 successful Section 2 lawsuits during the eight years of the Bush Administration, yet it was roundly criticized by so-called civil rights leaders for supposedly “neglecting” the enforcement of Section 2. Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights commented on the supposed lack of Section 2 cases, claiming there was a “growing distrust among minority communities who feel increasingly abandoned and marginalized by the Division’s litigation choices and priorities.”
During the past five years of the current Administration, the Civil Rights Division filed exactly one Section 2 lawsuit, in 2009—and that was a case that was started and investigated during the Bush Administration. Yet not a single critical word has been heard from the same civil rights groups about the Obama Administration’s complete lack of enforcement of Section 2.
So when the Administration finally files a Section 2 lawsuit, it is over voter ID—over the type of law that is supported by a majority of Americans, has been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, has been found by other federal courts not to violate Section 2, and that election turnout evidence shows does not “suppress” minority or any other voters, as has been falsely claimed.
Justice also announced it was intervening in a private Section 2 lawsuit filed against the 2011 Texas redistricting plans for Congress and the Texas House of Representatives. DOJ will ask the federal court to reimpose the equivalent of Section 5 preclearance coverage on Texas so that Texas would have to get the approval of the Justice Department for the next 10 years for any other changes in its voting laws.
Another example of Eric Holder wasting taxpayer funds and Justice Department resources.