By Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos
The Justice Department sued Georgia over a sweeping voting law passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Friday, in a major step by the Biden administration to confront state-level ballot restrictions enacted since the 2020 election.
“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Mr. Garland said in a news conference at the Justice Department. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”
The lawsuit is among the highest-profile enforcement actions to be brought under the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a key provision that allowed the Justice Department to stop states from passing laws viewed as facilitating voter discrimination.
The lawsuit shows that the Justice Department under the Biden administration intends to use the remaining tools it had to aggressively fight state actions that it sees as potentially disenfranchising minority voters. Mr. Garland vowed earlier this month that the department would deploy all of its available law enforcement options to combat voter discrimination.
The lawsuit comes days after congressional Republicans blocked the most ambitious federal voting rights legislation in a generation, dealing a blow to Democrats’ efforts to preserve voting rights. President Biden and Democratic leaders pledged to continue working to steer federal voting rights legislation into law.
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