Attorney General Eric Holder defended the Justice Department’s fight against Texas’ voter ID law in a speech to the NAACP today, saying “the arc of American history has always moved toward expanding the electorate.”
Holder said that under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not, and added that “some recent studies” have shown that nationally only 8 percent of white voting-age citizens lack photo ID while 25 percent of African-American voting-age citizens are without one.
“Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them,” Holder said. “…But let me be clear: we will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.”
The attorney general also commented on last month’s Supreme Court rulings on Arizona’s SB 1070 and ObamaCare, saying he was “pleased that, in both cases, the Court broadly affirmed the government’s position as argued by the Justice Department.”
“However, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” Holder said. “Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans. In this work, I can assure you that the Department of Justice will continue to be vigilant.”