It was about a month ago that Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department is taking Texas to court over the state's discriminatory voter-ID law, relying on what's left of the Voting Rights Act. It seemed like only a matter of time before Holder made a similar announcement targeting North Carolina.
And that's exactly what happened this morning.
The Justice Department is suing North Carolina over that state's . The lawsuit takes aim at provisions that limit early voting periods and require a government photo ID as an illegal form of discrimination against minorities at the ballot box, according to a person briefed on the Justice Department's plans. [...]Attorney General Eric Holder announced the case at a Monday news conference in Washington. It marks the third time this year that the Justice Department has taken action to enforce portions of the Voting Rights Act since the high court voted 5-4 to gut the law's centerpiece, a system that required states with a history of discrimination to seek pre-approval from the federal government before making any election changes.
The DOJ's lawsuit was a foregone conclusion because of the scope of the new North Carolina statute. The scope of the voter-suppression law is extraordinary -- state Republican policymakers, led by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) imposed voter-ID restrictions never needed before in North Carolina, narrowed the early-voting window, placed new restrictions on voter-registration drives, made it much harder for students to vote, ended same-day registration during the early voting period, and made it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters.
Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said during the legislative fight, "This is the single worst bill we have seen introduced since voter suppression bills began sweeping the country."
As with the Texas litigation, Holder is asking a federal court to block the state from implementing its voter-suppression measure and re-impose requirements that changes to North Carolina's voting laws be cleared by the Justice Department.
Update: A transcript of Holder's remarks this morning is now online. My favorite line, in reference to the state law: "This is an intentional attempt to break a system that was working. It defies common sense."
Second Update: Here's the DOJ's litigation (pdf).