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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eric Holder's 2014 Racial Politics -- Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal

 The Attorney General tries to reverse a Supreme Court ruling by the back door.

Eric Holder, American racial history is frozen in the 1960s. The Supreme Court ruled in June that a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is no longer justified due to racial progress, but the U.S. Attorney General has launched a campaign to undo the decision state-by-state. His latest target is North Carolina, which he seems to think is run from the grave by the early version of George Wallace.

The real current Governor, Republican Pat McCrory, signed a law in August that requires voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polling station, including a state driver's license or military ID. Voters who show up without one can still cast a provisional ballot pending their return with a photo ID. The law also shortens early voting to 10 days from 17 and ends a program that preregistered high school students before they were eligible to vote.

According to Mr. Holder, this amounts to a shocking return to the Jim Crow era. He describes these modest measures to secure the integrity of the ballot as "aggressive steps to curtail the voting rights of African Americans." And he is suing the state to bring it back under the federal supervision of the Voting Rights Act for all of its future voting-law changes.

The Supreme Court held in June that such federal "preclearance" under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act had outlived its usefulness in states where black and white voter registration and participation rates are roughly equal. That should have been good news, but now Mr. Holder wants to haul North Carolina and Texas back into long-term federal supervision through a back door.

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