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Beltway Confidential

Ted Cruz: Eric Holder refusing to follow the law

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Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder is continuing a "longstanding pattern of refusing to follow the law" with his decision to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court and force Texas to seek federal approval for changes to voting laws.

The Texas Republican's comment came in a stern statement in which he also accused Holder of politicizing the Justice Department.

"Holder's refusal to accept the judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding preclearance continues the department's longstanding pattern of refusing to follow the law," Cruz said.

He was referring to the high court's June 25 decision declaring as unconstitutional a Voting Rights Act of 1965 provision that required 11 states to obtain prior Justice Department approval of even minor changes in their election laws.

"Likewise, Holder continues to attack voter ID laws, even though the Supreme Court has concluded that voter ID laws are supported by multiple interests that are unquestionably relevant to the State's interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process," Cruz said.

Earlier in the day, Holder told the National Urban League that he would use a little-known provision in the Voting Rights Act to circumvent the Supreme Court while Congress worked to fill in the gaps in the law.

"This is the [Department of Justice's] first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder said. "Even as Congress considers updates to the Voting Rights Act in light of the Court's ruling, we plan, in the meantime, to fully utilize the law's remaining sections to subject states to preclearance as necessary."

Previously, the DOJ used Section 4 of the VRA to block new voting laws in states that had decades ago tried to disenfranchise minority voters. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said that Congress needed to create a new formula to determine which parts of the country must seek DOJ approval for changes to their election laws.

DOJ tried to use Section 3 of the VRA in 1992 to block states from making their own election laws. Section 3 allows DOJ to block laws in states that have previously violated the 14th and 15th Amendments.

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