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Lawyers’ Committee Commends Justice Department Legal Action to Protect Voting Rights in Texas

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2013 – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Barbara R. Arnwine today issued the following statement:

The Lawyers' Committee commends the U.S. Department of Justice for filing suit against the State of Texas and Texas state officials over the state's Voter ID law and for requesting to intervene in an important Texas redistricting case.

The State of Texas has taken extraordinary steps to diminish the opportunities for minorities, the elderly, students, low-income persons and others to exercise their the right to vote by imposing unacceptable and outrageous obstacles in the form of draconian voter ID laws and nefarious redistricting schemes.  We are pleased that the Attorney General and U.S. Justice Department are standing up to these tactics and are taking appropriate steps to have them invalidated.

The Justice Department announced today that it is filing a lawsuit against the State of Texas, the Texas Secretary of State and the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, seeking a declaration that Texas' voter ID law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S Constitution because it discriminates against racial minorities.  

In a separate case, the Department moved to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit of Perez v. Perry in order that it may seek a declaration that the state’s 2011 redistricting plan for the U.S. Congress and Texas State House of Representatives was adopted with the intent of discriminating against minority voters.  The Justice Department also requested that the court order that Texas be “bailed in” to the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act, requiring that any change to the state’s voting procedures such as redistricting and voter ID laws be pre-cleared by the Justice Department.

In previous cases, a federal court ruled that Texas had failed to show that its redistricting plan and voter ID laws were not discriminatory. Those rulings were vacated after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated the preclearance formula of the Voting Rights Act.  However, the Court’s ruling did not affect Section 2’s non-discrimination requirement and Section 3’s bail-in provisions, which the Justice Department seeks to enforce through today’s filings.

 

Texas has been at the forefront of the wave of restrictive voting measures that undermine the rights of millions of eligible Americans to vote.  The Lawyers’ Committee is gratified that the U.S. Justice Department is taking much-needed action to protect voters from these reprehensible measures.

About the Lawyers’ Committee
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 as we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending; community development; employment; voting; education and environmental justice. 

 

 

Travelers, for more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org

 

 

 

 

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