According to an unnamed source briefed by someone in the Justice Department, ABC News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration are planning to sue the state of North Carolina for racial discrimination. The administration is attempting to circumvent the Supreme Court decision that amended part of the Civil Rights act because the state is implementing new laws regarding voter eligibility. North Carolina is cutting back the period of early voting by one week and eliminating same-day voter registration in the early voting period.
Although there is no wording anywhere in the new North Carolina regulations that mentions minorities, the Obama Administration is accusing the new laws of being racist.
The decision to file the lawsuit will be announced by Holder, Joceyln Samuels, who is the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, and three U.S. attorneys hailing from North Carolina, according to the unnamed source. The Justice department already sued Texas for its voter ID law on August 22.
In addition to the Justice Department’s challenge to the cutback in early voting, Holder and his allies plan to attack two other provisions in North Carolina’s laws: one eliminates some provisional ballots from voters who vote in their home counties but not in their correct precincts, and the other requires voters to government-issued identification at the polls to prove their eligibility.
Holder boasted to the Congressional Black Caucus on September 20 that his department would not allow states to use the Supreme Court’s decision as an opening for “open season” in suppressing voting rights. His department plans to ask a federal judge to block North Carolina’s new laws by putting under federal scrutiny for a period of time yet to be determined, a process called “pre-clearance.”
Holder may have difficulty; in order to gain his “pre-clearance” goal, he has to prove that a state or local government has intentionally discriminated under the Constitution’s 14th or 15th amendments, or the party targeted by Holder has to admit to discrimination. He can’t use the effects of the new laws to claim discrimination.