Speech Delivered by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (2011)
On 13 December 2011, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (b. 1951) used a scheduled appearance at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum as an opportunity to discuss the state of voting rights in Texas and the rest of the country. It was a fitting location; in 1965, Johnson had signed the historic Voting Rights Act into law that Holder was now tasked with enforcing. However, recent voter identification laws in Texas, South Carolina, and other states were, according to Holder, potential violations of the landmark legislation because they were enacted for the sole purpose of discouraging minorities from voting. While conservatives criticized the partisan nature of the speech when word leaked about its subject matter, the attorney general responded by arguing that the Justice Department was obligated to defend the “long tradition of extending voting rights” to disadvantaged or marginalized segments of society.