In a speech to hundreds at the 12th annual King at the Dome Rally in Columbia Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to fight South Carolina’s voter ID law.
Holder, who is the first African-American Attorney General in U.S. history, honored Dr. Martin Luther King by quoting him in his speech to compare today’s issues with those Dr. King was fighting against 50 years ago.
“Without equal access to the ballot box, Americas minority citizens would have, and I quote, ‘dignity without strength’,” Holder said, “Our commitment to strengthening and fulfilling our nation’s promise of equal opportunity and equal justice has never ever been stronger!”
Last month, the Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to present a photo ID when they cast a ballot, saying it discriminated against minorities– who are more likely to lack the cards. The law’s supporters say the requirement is necessary to prevent fraud.
The crowd cheered on comments and statements by Holder and some the others that spoke at the rally as if a sermon was taking place. Holder himself even said, “I didn’t know I was going to church today!”
Most of the crowd appeared to be in support of President Barack Obama for the 2012 presidential election. Holder said he was in Columbia on behalf of Obama– who appointed him to the Attorney General position in 2008.
South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report