The Justice Department has made its first move since the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act: Eric Holder said today that the department wants to require Texas to get federal permission before making any changes to voting rules. A motion asking a court to do just that is expected to be filed later today, the New York Times reports. "This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder said in a Philadelphia speech. He added that the Obama administration is fully prepared to subject other states to "preclearance" if needed. The Wall Street Journal explains that he's basically using other parts of the Voting Rights Act to continue fighting discrimination.
As Politico explains, the Supreme Court basically shot down such "preclearance" requirements, but left another, little-used mechanism in place that allows judges to impose the same requirements on states that have a proven history of intentional voter discrimination; Holder said the Texas Legislature has been found to have discriminated against Hispanics while redistricting. Lawyers representing minority groups have requested that a Texas court put the state back under federal oversight, and the DOJ will be filing a "statement of interest" to show the federal government backs that case. Holder's remarks at the National Urban League's annual conference today got a standing ovation, US News & World Report notes. (Read more Eric Holder stories.)