Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is going to federal court in an attempt to require the state of Texas to get approval before implementing changes to the state's voting process, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.
In remarks to the National Urban League's conference in Philadelphia, Holder said the move was in direct response to last month's Supreme Court decision that struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that allowed the Justice Department to take action against jurisdictions that adopted discriminatory voting laws or other procedures.
"This is the department's first action to protect voting rights (since last month's Supreme Court decision), but it won't be our last,'' Holder said. "We cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve.''
Referring to the Voting Rights Act as the "cornerstone of modern civil rights law,'' Holder also called on Congress "to restore, and even to strengthen, modern voting protections.''
"It's a question of our values as a nation,'' Holder said. "It goes to the heart of who we are as a people. And it's incumbent upon congressional leaders from both parties to guarantee that every eligible American will always have equal access to the polls.''