The New Yorker says Attorney General Eric Holder “is finally on the offensive–with a case that is close to his heart.” The issue is voting rights. The magazine says Holder “has engaged in few of the morally clear-cut struggles that helped define” the civil rights era of the 1960s, “and he hasn't enjoyed the victories that his predecessors could claim.”
Then, last June, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court declared a central part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Several states under Republican control immediately passed laws tightening the eligibility to vote. Holder called these laws contemporary versions of poll taxes, designed to disenfranchise African-Americans and immigrants. In August and September, the Justice Department sued Texas and North Carolina over new voting laws. And Holder has now asked Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School and one of the leading voting-rights experts in the country, to direct the office that brought the lawsuits.