The Justice Department is suing North Carolina over “restrictive” new voting laws that federal authorities said took “extremely aggressive steps to curtail the voting rights of African-Americans."

“This is an intentional step to break a system that was working, and it defies common sense,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

North Carolina lawmakers recently approved new electoral rules that shortened the state's early voting period and added strict identification requirements for voters at the polls.

Critics charge that Republicans are trying to discourage African-Americans and other minorities from voting.

“This new law would shrink, rather than expand, access to the franchise significantly,” Holder said.

Republicans said the new laws are needed to prevent voter fraud.

The North Carolina lawsuit follows Justice Department intervention in Texas, where it is protesting a state redistricting plan and voter identification law. Together, the episodes mark an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to restore a stronger role for the federal government in protecting minority voting rights, an objective undercut when the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.



NBC and CNN both scrapped separate film projects about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the director for one of the projects said it was a lack of cooperation from those close to the Clintons, not Republican threats, that forced the cancellation.

CNN is scrapping a planned documentary on Clinton, who is widely considered a 2016 Democratic White House contender. NBC announced less than 24 hours later that it was canceling a miniseries about Clinton in which the former first lady was to be portrayed by actress Diane Lane.

Charles Ferguson, who was to direct the CNN documentary, said Republican threats to shut both networks out of the 2016 presidential debates if they aired the Clinton films didn't spark the cancellation. Rather, dozens of people close to the Clintons refused to talk about them, he said.



Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, says the Republican Party is being defined by a dysfunctional Congress, and that's turning off voters.

Jindal, head of the Republican Governors Association, wrote in the Daily Caller that the GOP needs to rebrand itself by focusing attention not on a Congress that can't do anything but on Republican governors — like him — who are already shaping public policy according to conservative principles.

“Republican governors are not going to take it anymore,” Jindal wrote. “We are not going to allow the Republican Party to be defined by the dysfunction in Washington.”



There's no good time for a government shutdown, but the latest one hit the Federal Election Commission hard.

The election watchdog planned to furlough 335 of its 339 employees in case of a shutdown just as federal candidates and campaign committees across the country were scheduled to file their third-quarter fundraising totals.

Among the furloughed employees are “case workers” assigned to guide campaigns through the filing process and to help them avoid having to pay penalties because of mistakes.