Earlier in the week I told you that Attorney General Eric Holder would be calling on a court to require the state of Texas to get permission from the federal government before they make any voting changes for the next decade, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling against his request. Well Texas isn’t taking it lying down. A group of Texas Republicans have warned the Obama administration not to mess with Texas, including Governor Rick Perry.
The Dallas News reports what has been taking place:
The White House pushed back this afternoon against allegations from Texas Republicans that the Justice Department is overreaching its authority by trying to reimpose preemptive U.S. oversight of Texas elections.
In the last few hours, a chorus of Texas Republican officials have warned the administration not to mess with Texas. Gov. Rick Perry called the Justice Department’s plan an “end-run around the Supreme Court.” Sen. John Cornyn accused Obama of “bullying” tactics in pursuit of a partisan agenda. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor, vowed that “I’ll fight Obama’s effort to control our elections.” Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions, a member of the House GOP leadership, called Holder’s move an assault on federalism.
The Supreme Court left open the possibility that Congress can modernize the Voting Rights Act and resume federal “preclearance” in Texas and other states with a history of bias. But most analysts see little hope of lawmakers finding a consensus.
According to Obama spokesman Josh Earnest, the Obama administration is not overstepping its bounds. He noted that Texas political maps for years “have attracted quite a bit of controversy… I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that’s been following this that that’s attracted the attention of the Department of Justice.”
Rep. Pete Sessions shot back, “The administration is once again deliberately attempting to push its political agenda by selectively targeting Texas.”
While the Supreme Court ruling does leave open the ability of Congress to rewrite the Voting Rights Act and resume federal “preclearance,” it doesn’t seem that will be taking place anytime soon. Holder is looking to bypass Congress and have a lower court rule in the administration’s favor. Earnest said blew of the suggestion that Holder’s use of the courts to reimpose “preclearance is a concession that Congress won’t update the Voting Rights Act. “It’s not,” he said. “The goal of the administration.. is to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. That includes protecting the voting rights of all Americans who are eligible to vote. That’s the goal here. I would assume that that would be a goal that would also be supported by congressional Republicans. We’ll see.”
However, that is exactly what he is doing.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott brandished his swords in a pair of tweets on Thursday, basically saying if the Obama administration wants war, they’ll get one.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 25, 2013
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 25, 2013
TrueTheVote even weighted in on the challenge against Texas by the Obama Justice Department in the following statement:
“We will not sit idly by and allow the most politically charged Department of Justice in US history to set aside the US constitution and attempt to bully the people of Texas”, True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “We will meet Attorney General Holder in court and we will do whatever we need to do to advance the cause of voters’ rights for all Americans.”
“General Holder’s announcement today demonstrates just how radical the DOJ has become. The same department that criminalizes journalism and fails to prosecute IRS agents who violate the rights of American taxpayers is promising to sue states with taxpayer dollars to block laws passed by elected legislators such as voter ID and citizenship verification.
“Every American voter deserves to have his or her vote counted – and not diluted by fraud or error. The DOJ just put itself between the voters of Texas and their guaranteed constitutional and civil rights.
“True the Vote has watched as Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly disregarded the rule of law,” Engelbrecht continued. “We understand that this Department of Justice does not believe that protection of voters’ rights should be colorblind.
I hope Texas’ leadership’s bite is bigger than their bark. I remember when they had tough talk about the TSA and a simple letter from the Obama administration caused them to lose the legislature’s vote to kick the TSA out of Texas. May God grant them courage!
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.