In a move that drew the ire of Texas officials, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday the Justice Department will ask a San Antonio-based federal court to force Texas to get permission from the federal government before it can make any additional changes to its voting and election laws.
The challenge to Texas' authority comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. The high courtís 5-4 decision invalidated a rule that singled out certain states, like Texas and North Carolina, and forced them to get Justice Department approval before changing their election rules.
The Voting Rights Act was a major turning point in black Americansí struggle for equal rights and political power. The court did not unravel the law itself, but questioned the validity of the allegedly outdated criteria used to select which states would be singled out.
Following the decision, Holder had publicly pledged to aggressively use his departmentís power to block or halt any new state laws it views as discriminatory. He took his first step in that direction on Thursday.