WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will legally contest a series of laws across the country as part of an aggressive campaign to fight a recent Supreme Court ruling that it says could reduce minority voting.
The Justice Department filed its first challenge Thursday, asking a judge to require Texas to seek permission from the federal government before making voting changes because of the state's history of discrimination. Several states in the South and Southwest could face similar lawsuits.
"This is the department's first action to protect voting rights following the (Supreme Court) decision, but it will not be our last," Attorney General Eric Holder told a National Urban League conference in Philadelphia. "My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against discrimination wherever it is found."
Civil rights groups and African-American lawmakers welcomed the decision, as did the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
They had urged President Barack Obama to wade into the issue after a divided Supreme Court struck down a centerpiece of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required some states to receive federal approval for electoral revisions.
But Texas officials, from Austin to Washington, blasted the decision, accusing the Obama administration of "bullying" the state for political reasons.