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Holder: Texas still needs to go through 'pre-clearance' when changing voting laws

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in late June that weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will use what's left of the law to go after what it considers discriminatory practices.

And the first target will be Texas, in a dispute over new boundaries drawn by the Republican legislature for congressional and legislative districts.

Holder told the National Urban League this morning that the Civil Rights division will urge a federal judge in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a pre-clearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act -- a part of the law that survived the Supreme Court's ruling.

"This request to 'bail in' the state -- and require it to obtain pre-approval from either the department or a federal court before implementing future voting changes -- is available under the Voting Rights Act when intentional voting discrimination is found," he said.

"We believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a pre-clearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices."

Holder said this is how the government will continue using the law "to ensure that the voting rights of all American citizens are protected."