Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one The Memo: Democrats may rue pursuit of Bannon Ben Affleck, Tracee Ellis Ross join anti-gerrymandering fundraiser with Clinton, Holder MORE on Sunday praised America’s progress on race since the civil rights era while urging stronger voting rights.
“Equality is still the prize,” Holder said in Selma, Ala. “Still, even now, it is clear that we have more work to do; that beloved community is not yet formed; that our society is not yet at a just peace.”
Holder delivered his comments in observation of the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. in 1965. The historic event took place 50th years ago this weekend and inspired the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
“This means standing up, and speaking out, for the civil rights which everyone in this country is entitled,” Holder said. “It means calling attention to persistent disparities and inequities. And it means working tirelessly to safeguard and to exercise the right to vote.”
Holder’s call to action echoed President Obama’s comments on Saturday that “the march is not yet over.” The attorney general vowed Sunday that his agency would continue expanding voting rights and protections.
“I am proud of the work done by the Department of Justice, and I know that my successor – who is with us today – will continue to fight aggressively on behalf of this sacred right,” he said. “But I also recognize that the Justice Department cannot wage this fight alone.”
At issue is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. It required some states with histories of racial discrimination to get federal approval before changing their individual voting laws. The Supreme Court removed that requirement in a 5-3 ruling in June, 2013.
Holder criticized the court’s decision during his address Sunday. He called the ruling “profoundly flawed” during his remarks.
“Let me be clear: While the Court’s decision removed one of the Justice Department’s most effective tools, we remain undaunted and undeterred in our pursuit of a meaningful right to vote for every eligible American,” Holder said. “We will march on, until the self-evident truth of equality is made real for every America. We will march on, until every citizen is afforded his or her right to vote.”