By PETE YOST
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department said today it will sue Texas over the state's voter ID law and will seek to intervene in a lawsuit over the state's redistricting laws.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the action marks another step in the effort to protect voting rights of all eligible Americans. He said the government will not allow a recent Supreme Court decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.
On June 25, the Supreme Court threw out the most powerful part of the Voting Rights Act, whose enactment in 1965 marked a major turning point in black Americans' struggle for equal rights and political power.
In the voter ID lawsuit, the U.S. government will contend that Texas adopted a voter identification law with the purpose of denying or restricting the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group.
Intervening in the redistricting case would enable the federal government to present evidence about the purpose and effect of the Texas redistricting plans. A federal court in Washington, D.C., has previously held that Texas failed to meet its burden of proving that its 2011 redistricting plans and its 2011 voter identification law were not discriminatory.