Cornyn says Holder's move on Texas meant to gin up votes for 2014

The other Texas Republican in the Senate, Ted Cruz, similarly accused Holder of attacking Texas's voter ID law for political reasons. Cruz added that the Texas law is meant to protect all legal voters from voter fraud, including minorities.

"Americans overwhelmingly support voter ID laws because they understand that voter fraud weakens our democracy, and unfortunately it is often minority voters who are the victims of that fraud," Cruz said. "The Department of Justice should not be working to undermine the integrity of our elections."

Holder announced Thursday that the Department of Justice would challenge a Texas law that requires voters to show some form of identification, such as a driver's license, personal ID card, passport or other documents. The suit says the law was adopted "with the purpose, and will have the result, of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group."

But Cornyn said he doubts Justice will have any luck showing that Texas is discriminating against voters, in part because Texas has been subject to the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which requires most of the state to have its voting rules approved by the federal government.

"The record of minority voting in places like Texas that have been subject to the pre-clearance requirement is actually better than much of the rest of the country that is not subjected to this sort of intrusion into their state sovereignty," he said.

Cornyn added that Holder appears to be trying to circumvent the recent Supreme Court decision, which said the formula for determining which states and districts should be subject to the VRA's pre-clearance requirements are outdated. Holder said Thursday that the Obama administration "will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights."