Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:52 pm
A bipartisan group of lawmakers took the first step Thursday to patch a gaping hole in the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eviscerated a key part of the law that allowed for federal oversight of states with a history of ballot box discrimination.
President Obama convened voting rights advocates to the White House Monday, where he doubled down on his commitment to salvaging the Voting Rights Act. Texas state representative Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat, was the only Texan invited, and he said Texas was frequently discussed in the meeting with Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Just as the President is talking about discrimination at the polls, here we are in Texas arguing this case in front of federal judges," Martinez Fischer said.
In the war over the right to vote in the U.S., the Justice Department's choice of Texas as the battleground for its first legal action following the Supreme Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act has a feeling of inevitability.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will ask a federal court to subject Texas to the same kind of scrutiny that was required of it by a section of the Voting Rights Act struck down last month by the Supreme Court.
In Shelby County v. Holder, the high court rescinded Section 5 of the 1965 act, which required several states including Texas that had a history of voter discrimination to get "pre-clearance" from the federal government before changing their election laws.
The chief legal counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is applauding Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law the interim voting maps, but said not having a Voting Rights Act leaves minority communities vulnerable.
This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Nina Perales is the chief legal counsel for the MALDEF and said the supreme court has taken away a tool for fair and equitable state voting maps.
People across the political spectrum are critical of the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate this week. We examine how the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will impact immigration rights. Voting rights advocates are worried about the effects the high court's decision on part of the Voting Rights Act will have on minority voters. Finally, Native American veterans have had an especially difficult time navigating the federal claim system.
Texas Matters: The United States Supreme Court is wrapping up its session and decisions continue to come down. A ruling has been made in a Texas-Oklahoma water dispute, and a decision is expended soon on a case involving the Voting Rights Act, which could have major implications in Texas. Also on this show: An inside look at Texas Monthly's Best and Worst Legislators 2013 list, and a look at how Mexico's drug war killings are effecting both sides of the border.
On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case that could considerably weaken a key part of the Voting Rights Act. Texas civil rights leaders say Latino and African American voters in the state will certainly be discriminated against should a part of the Voting Rights Act be struck down.