By Esmeralda Torres
Rio Grande Guardian
AUSTIN, TX — Reaction to Attorney General Eric Holder’s effort to reinstate a preclearance process whenever electoral maps in Texas are changed is split largely along ethnic lines.
Anglo and Cuban American elected officials in Texas have generally criticized Holder’s move while African American and Mexican American elected officials in Texas have generally supported it.
In a speech before the National Urban League, Holder said he will ask a federal court in Texas to “subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.” Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively neutered the preclearance section of the Act.
Here are some of the reactions to Holder’s announcement:
Gov. Rick Perry said Holder is demonstrating “utter contempt” for the country’s system of checks and balances and the U.S. Constitution. “This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process,” Perry said.
However, under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, Holder is permitted to make such a request to the federal courts.
Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio applauded the Department of Justice’s “proactive actions to stop the enactment of laws that have already been determined to be discriminatory in Texas.”
Castro said there are three key values that make America exceptional among the nations of the world: freedom, democracy, and opportunity.
“When we stop defending any one of these we betray all of the patriots who have given their lives to make our nation a more perfect union. Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature has put Texas in a place where we need oversight for clear attacks on voter’s rights. We must continue to protect the basic right to choose our elected officials guaranteed by our American Constitution,” Castro said.
Castro said Thursday’s decision by the Department of Justice upholds the rights of all Texans to cast their vote freely.
“This decision also gives Congress time to come to a consensus over how to move forward and ensure that no American is subject to the narrow and discriminatory agenda of partisan politicians.
Congressional gridlock must not set back the clock on years of progress. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, my freshman colleagues and I have already started to have conversations to come together so that all Americans have the freedom to be full participants of our democracy. As a representative from the great state of Texas, I look forward to working with the Department of Justice in any way necessary to protect every American’s right to vote,” Castro said.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn had a very different view to Holder’s action…