Hogtie Texas: Voter suppression draws a strong federal response

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As thousands of Americans prepared to go to Washington, D.C., Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the Justice Department last week acted to make sure the dream of civil rights would not descend into a nightmare.

Attorney General Eric Holder said his department will file suit against an onerous new Texas voter ID law (it allows a person to vote, for instance, with a gun permit but not with a college ID) and become a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against a Texas redistricting plan previously rejected by a federal court. These steps were a bold reaction to a glaring affront.

After the Supreme Court in June overturned a section of the Voting Rights Act that had required nine states with histories of civil rights abuses -- mostly in the South -- to get prior federal approval for changes, Texas Republicans quickly went hog wild in their voter suppression efforts, confounding Chief Justice John Roberts' legal rationale that "Our country has changed."

The Justice Department faces a tough legal battle, but maybe one of the justices in the majority in June will realize that Texas and North Carolina have made the court look foolish. The dream lives, but still there are those who use false claims of state sovereignty to subvert its hopes.

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