November 14, 2018

State Representative James White Criticizes Holder and Sensenbrenner for Going after Texas

White-4437 finishedAugust 16, 2013- (MSGPR) State Representative James White (R-Hillister) recently sent a letter to Republican Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner criticizing him for supporting Attorney General Eric Holder’s move to put Texas back under the Section 5 preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) after the Supreme Court struck down procedures in Section 4 that determine which states are subject to these requirements. Instead of encouraging Congress to update those procedures, as the Supreme Court directed, Holder is opting to use the “bail-in” provision of Section 3, which allows the federal government to apply the preclearance requirements to states where there are allegations of intentional discrimination. Representative White deplored this politicization of the judicial system.

“Holder’s decision to attack Texas’s laws is a violation of its sovereignty and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” White said. “Instead of suing Texas, Holder should investigate harassment by the IRS toward groups that provide an opportunity for people to exercise their 1st Amendment rights.”

White questioned Sensenbrenner’s inconsistent advocacy of Holder’s attempt to apply the VRA to Texas. “Why are you advocating the targeted enforcement of a provision of this law without suggesting that same level of scrutiny apply to your home state?”

He noted that the Supreme Court did not throw out the VRA in its entirety but sent it back to Congress for it to update the procedures that determine which states should be subject to Section 5 preclearance. White continued, “Instead of aiding and abetting political harassment from the Holder Justice Department, it seems to me your focus should be on improving the VRA and ensuring that voters in Wisconsin have the optimum access to the ballot box.”

White shared compelling data to demonstrate that the Justice Department’s tactics are misguided and overtly political. In 2012, the national black voter turnout rate was higher than the white voter turnout rate. The Southern states primarily targeted with VRA preclearance have seen increases in minority voter registration levels, election turnout rates, and representation among elected officials since the enactment of the VRA, and these figures are on par with other regions of the country.

White explained, “These facts raise serious doubts about the validity of allegations of intentional discrimination by states like Texas toward minorities.”

White acknowledged that the VRA is a successful piece of social policy because it focused on expanding individual liberty.

“I stand proudly on the shoulders of those before me that fought for this precious right,” White said. “However, the recent application of the VRA has interfered with 10th Amendment rights. Instead of promoting the popular will of all the people, politicos have gamed the system for partisan gain.”

The Court did not ditch the VRA, it just told Congress to fix it. “Please,” White asked Sensenbrenner, “refrain from supporting this politicized Justice Department’s obstruction of the voting process. I urge you to go to work to reform this great piece of legislation that protects all voters from sea to shining sea and ensure that the march for individual liberty continues throughout this next great American century.”

Representative White is a Member of the Texas House of Representatives on behalf of District 19, composed of Polk, Tyler, Jasper, Newton, and Hardin counties. He serves on the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, and he is the Vice-Chairman of the Corrections Committee.

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For more information, contact James White at (512) 463-0490. Letter from Rep. James White (8-15-13)