Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Republicans to Eric Holder: Don’t Mess With Texas on Voting Rights

Republican members of the Lone Star State House delegation made their position clear to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday: Don’t mess with Texas.

They also had another message for the head of the Justice Department: he might have just poisoned the well of future bipartisan House efforts to update the Voting Rights Act before the end of the 113th Congress.

“Ain’t gonna happen,” Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, said.

Texas lawmakers’ ire arose after Holder’s announcement Thursday morning that his agency would join a lawsuit asking a federal court to force Texas to submit to a “preclearance” system, meaning the state would need DOJ approval before enacting any changes to its voting rules and regulations.

Texas, along with all or parts of 15 other states with a history of racial discrimination at the polls, had been subject to such a preclearance regime under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court struck down that provision on June 25, saying the formula used to identify covered states was outdated and arbitrary.
The court said that the House should rewrite that formula for the 21st century, a premise Democrats have embraced along with some Republicans, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Cantor spokesman Doug Heye said the announcement doesn’t change the majority leader’s commitment to addressing the issue head on.

“[He] continues to have conversations with members to find a workable solution moving forward,” Heye said.

Barton ripped Holder’s decision to single out Texas.
“There is no reason for it,” he said. “African-Americans voted in a higher percentage in Texas than Anglos do. You look at the demographics of the state and demographics of Congressional districts, African-Americans reflect the population, as do the Hispanic district.

“I was a child of the ’60s, so I absolutely know personal knowledge of what discriminatory practices were in the ’60s, but the Texas of today, [we] want every citizen, regardless of race, creed or color, to register to vote,” Barton continued. “I beg Hispanics and African-Americans to vote.”

“Texas has a long-standing track record proving we work hard to ensure fair and open elections,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, said in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s decision on June 25 to overturn the preclearance provision made it clear that the law should not single out specific states for excessive treatment. Texas does not need the Federal government, especially Eric Holder, telling us what we can and cannot do with our voting laws.”

“Quite frankly, I think it violates equal protection … and if we’re serious about this, we should put every state under it,” added Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. “I’m really looking forward to the day when our country can step beyond using race as an issue all the time. I mean, when are we going to get to the point where all men and women are created equal and it doesn’t matter what color your skin is and where you’re from?”

Republicans also believe the Obama administration is targeting Texas for political gain.

“I can hope this is not just a political statement, that again he’s trying to make political hay,” said Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford, R-Okla. “I tell you, the people of Texas feel that this administration has been targeting them over and over again, that part of the Democrats’ political strategy is to turn Texas [from] red to blue.”

“The Administration is once again deliberately attempting to push its political agenda by selectively targeting Texas,” said Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, in a statement.

“Texas doesn’t agree with him on anything so we don’t expect anything decent nor legal out of him,” Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, added.

Texas Democrats, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement from Holder and said they hoped it would spur congressional action on the revising the Voting Rights Act.

“Today’s decision by the Department of Justice upholds the rights of all Texans to cast their vote freely,” said freshman Rep. Joaquin Castro in a statement. “This decision also gives Congress time to come to a consensus over how to move forward and ensure that no American is subject to the narrow and discriminatory agenda of partisan politicians. Congressional gridlock must not set back the clock on years of progress.”

Fellow freshman Beto O’Rourke agreed, acknowledging that the path forward could be difficult.

“You always want to work on a bipartisan basis, but the redistricting process [in Texas] is anything but bipartisan,” he said, “which sees the effects in the outcome of elections and ability to chose representatives that truly reflects the makeup of the community.”

  • j Ray

    House Republicans,. Isn’t it time to IMPEACH and remove Holder?

    • Michael D Dirmeier

      Holder, Obama and a host of others.

      • Jeff Hall

        You teabaggers do not have the balls to do it.

  • Arch

    Congress wrote and past the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to remedy voter suppression by Southern Democrats. Section 4 contained the rationale for this unconstitutional act – Federal control of a function specifically granted to the states. The Supreme Court ruled that the past practices which may have justified the law have ended.

    Unless and until Congress revises Section 4 and amends the law, the DoJ nor the federal courts have nothing to enforce.

    • LouAnnWatson

      but obama and his minions will do anything they can, including ignore or even break the law to get their way. this is what subversives do…

      • Arch

        Federal Courts will not override a decision of the SCOTUS; it’s the other way around. Governor Perry should tell Holder to stuff it.

        • garyshaw4@gmail.com

          There are some activist judges that may try but it won’t stand.

          • breanna

            only reason why hes doing it, or rather two reasons, is 1) texas has quite a few electoral votes and 2) hes a racist.

          • anthony johnson

            Wrong, Texas has a long history of voter surpression for people of color. Note; the first order of business was redistricting and voter ID laws, both designed to under-mine the voting rights of people of color in Texas. I fell to understand how any Americian could stand for this.

    • Jeff Hall

      Past practices have ended so it’s time to enact new practices, right teabagger?

      • Arch

        That is what the Supreme Court said. The voter suppression practiced by democrats no longer exists in the republican south.

        Boy, who are you calling a teabagger?

  • LouAnnWatson

    well, it seems when texas needed aid to help with the aftermath of wildfires that ravaged the state, the dear leader said “nyet”. but tinker with his racist agenda and he sits up and pays attention. texas is a red state, so he’s only interested in dishing out punishment for the state’s defiance of his narcissistic dictates.

  • Rick Caird

    Holder does nothing without the approval of Obama. Holder even needs prior approval to be corrupt.

    Expect Holder to get the first pardon from Obama just before Obama leaves office. the only question is who will pardon Obama? Is there a Gerald Ford in the wings?

    • breanna

      no i think the lady that just was sentenced to prison for voting many times will be pardoned by obama before he leaves office.

    • LoneStar78730

      Barak Obama will pardon Barak Obama – it’s perfectly legal……

      • Jeff Hall

        Pardon him for what??
        What imaginary crimes have you teabaggers dreamed up now??

  • Sherri De

    Holder sees his chance to turn TX blue. With the increasing influx of Californians and Nevada(ians?) abandoning their own destroyed states, they think if they can maintain control over districting they can hold the state. I’d hate to see that.

    • Kenny

      Last year for the time in modern history more white people died than were born. 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 every month. 5, 10, 20 years Texas, New Mexico, Arizona will turn Blue.

  • George Pepper

    Holder should be in jail. Sorry, prison.

  • Mysticbeetle

    Per Rep. Joaquin Castro: the current blatant fraud and cheating in the barrios and absentee balloting is to be cast in stone to “ensure that no American is subject to the narrow and discriminatory agenda of partisan politicians.”

    LMAOROTF!!!! Sabes Que, esse? Keep your Mexico legacy voting habits south of the rio bravo, ok.

  • Constitution First

    my disqus censors far too much
    anyone else finding there comments held for moderation?

  • savage24

    I Think that Holder is angry because in some of the black districts, the vote was limited to 125% of the registered voters. This guy is not a Attorney General, he is a race baiter and that is the last thing this country needs.

    • breanna

      what holder is implying by doing this is that texas hasnt changed at all in the last 50 years. the people are all the same and they all think the same. if this is true (and we know its not) then this would have to mean that no one and no state has changed their tune in the last 50 years. IMO, he keeps racism alive and sees it everywhere he looks even though its no there. this is what angers most people, the fact that he refuses to acknowledge the truth (that this country has changed since the 60′s). We are heading back tough that the time in our history if you believe a recent article that came out declaring that this administration wants to be able to tell people where they can live (diversity housing?).

      • Jeff Hall

        They haven’t changed. Only their methods have changed, not their intent.

      • Kenny

        Yes, a person must be a citizen to vote, but were in the Constitution does it say that a person must show a picture ID to prove that they are a citizen when they show up to vote. If a person is registered to vote then the county clerk has already verified that the person is a citizen and resident of the county in which they are voting. The idea in Texas and other states were you have to show up at the voting station with a picture ID is nothing more than a smoke screen to make it harder for registered voters to vote, it is denying the rights of some of the people in the states that have these laws the right to vote in an election and it is geared at the 2014-2016 elections to lessen the voter strength of Democrats & Hillary Clinton.

        • breanna

          kenny,
          the county clerk does verify that someone registering to vote is an actual citizen entitled to vote BUT the clerk is not the poll worker. so a man goes to the polls to vote. he tells the poll worker that his name is joe shmo. the poll worker says yes joe i see your name here so just sign on this line and then give this thingy to the other worker and he will escort you to the booth to vote. but the man was not really joe shmo he was just someone who voted illegally. the real joe shmo comes in later and he doesnt get to vote because the log says he already did. the poll worker denied joe his right to vote because she assumed that the first joe was the real registered voter. lets go back. a man walks in and wants to vote. says his name is joe shmo. poll worker says how do i know that you are the joe shmo that is legally registered to vote? poll worker asks for proof that he is the legal US citizen that registered to vote. so he shows hid id to prove that he is who he says he is. i dont see anything wrong with that at all. if poll workers “trust” you to be who you say you are then many many real US citizens will be denied their right to vote because someone else will have cheated and voted using a name thats on the books. believe me, its very easy to pull a name out of a hat and people will do it cause they know they can get away with it. if you are a proud US citizen and registered voter then you WANT your vote to count so no one should have a problem with proving who they are . the only people that really have a problem with it are the very people that WANT to steal the election.

    • rastaman44

      STFU, douche. What does that mean? LOL

  • ojfl

    I hope the judge demands proof they have actively suppressed votes. Otherwise the judge will dismiss the suit out of lack of standing. As it stands there is no pre-clearance, just remedies after the fact, as it should be. People and institutions are innocent until proven guilty. Why is AG Holder not going after Massachusetts? During oral arguments it was shown that the state has lower registration and turnout of minorities than any state in the South.

  • garyshaw4@gmail.com

    This is a publicity stunt designed to take attention away from the plethora of scandals and Holders impotence on Zimmerman after promising the moon. He will never win this in court.

    • breanna

      i just heard on the radio that this voter id issue has been heard three times in the last year alone and that texas has won all three times so holder doesnt stand a chance at trying to make the people/courts think that minorities in texas will not be allowed to vote because of the color of their skin. what worries me is that i also heard on the radio a few months back that there is a state up north that wants to be able to let people vote in general elections simply if they are a resident of the state. It doesnt matter if they are not US citizens as long as they reside in the state. very scary. I think we need a federal law that makes it perfectly clear and says ONLY US CITIZENS CAN VOTE IN US ELECTIONS. PERIOD.

      • rastaman44

        Heard on the radio? Teabagger version of a fact check. LOL!!!

        • breanna

          didnt say i believed it just said that i would be worried if it were true and also simply “informed” everyone of what I heard on the radio. you are too quick to call me disgusting names and then assume that I rely upon radio for the facts. instead of setting me straight with what I heard on the radio you had to immediately make me out to be well, you (ill informed and a group thinker). All you had to do was check what i had said and then inform us all of the reality where voting is concerned. Perhaps its asking too much for you to actually think for yourself after reviewing all the research on a particular topic and then argue for or against it. You see, I dont jump when people or political parties tell me to. I decide my own fate based on the facts. You on the other hand are just another lemming following you rleader right off the cliff. Good luck with that.

          • rastaman44

            i am being called a lemmming by someone who gets her facts from tight wing talk radio, LOL1!!l

            i could not make this shyte up. Priceless.

            BTW Texas failed twice with trying to implement the voter id law under the old section 4 of the VRA. Those denying actions were affirmed by the federal court in SA. I know the facts. My commentary was on how a lamebrained idiot like you repeats fact free asertations made on right wing radio. Thanks for making my point.

          • Jeff Hall

            ROFLMAO
            Enjoy your kool-aid, lemming. :-)

        • Jeff Hall

          But Rush said …

    • Kenny

      What scandals? Benghazi, IRS, Operation Fast & Furious? The Republican control House doesn’t seem to care anymore, because it’s not a scandal..no smoking gun pointing at Obama.

      • garyshaw4@gmail.com

        Your about to see a special committee targeting the Benghazi fiasco as the Special Operations Association has pushed this through. The IRS is now being subpoened and “use immunity” is about to be granted to people that will be compelled to testify and it has already led back to one of the 2 Obama appointee’s. Benghazi survivors have agreed to testify under subpoena and two are releasing a book timed to coincide with the 2014 election cycle. Look this stuff up before posting dude.

  • RW1134

    Approaching time for succession of several States. This appears to be the goal, so a State of Emergency and suspension of Elections can be declared.

  • kojirovance

    So AG Holder is arguing that minorities are discriminated against and under represented in Texas? HELLO? Have you heard of Senator Ted Cruz? Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams or Chief Justice Wallace Jeffereson? This is NOT the same Texas of the 1960s.

    • rastaman44

      Texas has changed since 60′s huh? says who? Is that why the attempted redistrcting by Texas legislators was denied by a federal court in San Antonio and under the VRA section 4 ( before being erroneously overturned by a barely legal SC)?

      • Jeff Hall

        Can’t argue facts with teabaggers.
        Facts to teabaggers are like sunlight to vampires.

        • rastaman44

          I already knew that, Jeff. I just like to hear them squeal like the racist pigs they are when confronted with truth. LOL!!!

      • kojirovance

        Things have changed. The Democrat controlled white state legislature and governors who actually did discriminate against minorities is gone. And we have a US Senator who is hispanic.

        • rastaman44

          WTF? Dude, do you think that people cannot research and find out the truth? The Democratic controlled white legislature and governors that discriminated changed in the 1970s to being republican white legiaslatures and governors that do discriminate. This started with the Nixon southern strategy and continues to this day( 2013). Do you think the actions as recently as 2008 of Tom Delay were not discrimnatory? The court seem to think that Delay was a menace to society hence his stay in prison. Re Cruz being hispanic, that is in name only. He is a willing Uncle Tom, like Clarence Thomas on the SC.

          Teabaggers and facts: not compatible.

          LOL!!!

          • kojirovance

            So you are saying that Ted Cruz and Clarence Thomas are not “authentic” minorities because they don’t hold the views you think they should? Isn’t that a kind of racism?
            Yes, Gov. John Connelly switched parties in 1972. However, the Republicans didn’t take over the TX senate until 2000 and the house in 2003. So they can hardly be blamed for the VRA abuses of Democrats.
            Mr. Delay’s actions were partisan, not discriminatory. The charges against him were trumped up by a hyper-partisan district attorney in Austin who ignored that Democrats made the same financial transactions.
            States like Massachusetts have about 25% black and hispanic minorities (and growing) and in 2011 created only their first majority-minority district. Which in 2012 voted for a white Democrat. If Texas needs to create more minority districts, why not uber-liberal Massachusetts?

    • Kenny

      Texas lawmakers widened the gap between the proportion of the population that is Latino and African Americans and the proportion of districts that are minority controlled. Texas removed economic centers and district offices from African American and Latino districts , while giving white Republicans perks.

  • CompusMentis

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. When the RNC is employing a “consultant” named Tom Hofeller who has the same goals as Holder? He’s working on ways to return states under Gov’t control but only *some* as a result of the SCOTUS ruling.

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/07/26/exclusive-rnc-operatives-join-holders-campaign-against-texas-several-other-states/

  • S S

    Texas IS an Open government state–allows people to speak and participate at public meeting, unlike some northern Democrat State (I.e. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York) that still DO NOT allow ANY open speaker participation at public meetings.

  • S S

    Got a feeling lots of Obama Admin people have NEVER stepped foot inside Texas. What racist and sexist “democrats” (party name is a misnomer) THEY ARE!

  • shenanniganist

    I try to take solace in the idea that Holder is a profoundly stupid man like his boss but then he skips on over into malice-land.

  • sassyj

    Shouldn’t bias Holder look at Massachusetts since it has the worst ratio of African-American to white voter turn out and the most disparity in registration between African-Americans and whites. Wow I guess that would be beyond Holder’s comprehension to be FAIR about any thing he does or says. I personally think we need to drop ship this whole administration to Iran and let them fin for themselves with their lies and blame. It would interesting to see just how long they would survive.

  • Jeff Hall

    And I have a message for these Texas teabaggers:
    **** TEXAS!

  • Kenny

    Texas and other Red States are using the “Fortress White America” strategy.

  • LD

    “Texas democrats” is an oxymoron!

  • kojirovance

    And yet the Tea Party took out the white, establishment candidate, David Dewhurst, in favor of a hispanic conservative, Ted Cruz.

    • rastaman44

      A Hispanic conservative who is more loyal to white cultural and economic interests than Dewhurst could ever be. Cruz is a Uncle Tom lackey who is latino in name only. LOL!!!

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