Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will ask a court to “bail in” Texas and require the state to get approval from the federal government for the next ten years before Texas can implement voting changes.
This request by the DOJ follows a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in June in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, effectively ending the requirement that states like Texas, with chronic histories of racial discrimination in voting, receive preclearance from a federal court or the DOJ before they can put voting changes in place.
In the wake of the Shelby County, Alabama decision, Texas, and other states that formerly precleared their voting changes, have sought to implement new discriminatory voting changes . Texas, for example, currently is putting in place a voter identification law that — before the Shelby County, Alabama decision — a federal court previously rejected as the most discriminatory measure of its kind in the country. Texas also is seeking redistrict using maps that another federal court determined were adopted with a discriminatory intent to limit the voting power of people of color.