One lawmaker says the move could harm efforts in Congress to find Voting Rights Act remedy.
Texas lawmakers responded swiftly and forcefully to Attorney General Eric Holder's Thursday announcement that the Justice Department will ask a federal court to require Texas to seek clearance to change voting laws and procedures.
Their overwhelming consensus was: Don't mess with us.
“Texas has a long-standing track record proving we work hard to ensure fair and open elections,” Rep. Randy Weber said in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s decision on June 25 to overturn the pre-clearance 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.”
Rep. Joe Barton's anger went a bit further. The Texas congressman suggested that Holder's end run could block a bipartisan effort to rewrite the formula to determine which states should seek clearance before making voting changes.
“Ain't gonna happen,” he told Roll Call.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also responded forcefully.
"I'll fight #Obama's effort to control our elections & I'll fight against cheating at ballot box," tweeted Abbott, who is running for governor.
When asked whether Holder's move was a "concession" that Congress will not be able to find a remedy for the Voting Rights Act provision struck down by the Supreme Court, White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said it was not.
"I've seen some public comments from members of Congress from both parties about the Voting Rights Act and about the best way to ensure that we're protecting the constitutional rights of Americans and certainly protecting the voting rights of all those Americans who are eligible to vote," he said. "So there's a conversation about that in Congress, and if there's a role for the administration to play in that conversation, then we'll certainly play it."
Earnest added that the administration's goal is "is to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans [including] the voting rights of all Americans who are eligible to vote."
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(Photo: Matt Rourke/AP Photo)