Addressing the National Urban League in Philadelphia Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the effects of a recent Supreme Court decision striking a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Holder said the Department of Justice plans to ask a federal court to reinstate its authority over Texas election laws, citing a recent redistricting case in the state.
"Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented last year in the redistricting case, Texas v. Holder ... we believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices," Holder said.
Based on evidence in that case showing the redistricting had been discriminatory to Hispanic voters, Holder said the DOJ would rely on a different section of the law to pursue continued preclearance for Texas.
The Supreme Court in June struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required federal preclearance for changes to voting laws in historically discriminatory southern states.
After the court's decision, states that previously required federal oversight got immediately to work on voting and election legislation. In response, the Obama administration is looking for new ways to challenge discriminatory state and local election laws.