Bring it on. The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Texas over its law requiring voters to provide photo identification at the polls. The suit, filed yesterday in federal court, comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in June. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. The federal government also filed a motion to join plaintiffs in a Texas redistricting lawsuit brought by minority voters. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who hopes to succeed Gov. Rick Perry in next year’s gubernatorial election, called the suit “gutter politics” and “offensive to the overwhelming majority of Texans of all races who support this ballot integrity measure.” He vowed to fight the government tooth and nail, which likely will play well with Texas voters.
UPDATE (1:45 p.m.): A military jury convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder for his attack on Fort Hood.
EARLIER ITEM: Tough decision? Jury deliberations in Maj. Nidal Hasan’s court martial continued today after the former U.S. Army psychiatrist rested his case Thursday without offering any closing argument. Hasan, who is representing himself, also refused to call any witnesses in his defense earlier this week. Military prosecutors offered 12 days of testimony to prove Hasan meticulously planned and carried out a 2009 attack at Fort Hood in Texas that killed 13 soldiers and injured 31 more. Hasan does not dispute the evidence against him but says he was justified because he had decided to become an enemy combatant. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Summer burn. Wildfires have become the most oft-repeated story of the summer news cycle. Today, park rangers in California’s Yosemite National Park closed a road and prepared to evacuate tourists as a mostly uncontained fire licked at its borders. The Rim fire has so far burned about 100 acres 10 miles outside the park. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 1,849 firefighters and nine helicopters are battling the blaze. And this is just one of about 61 large wildfires burning across the country, mostly in Western states.
Holy cow, Batman! And finally, some fun entertainment news to round off the week. The team producing the sequel to this year’s hit Man of Steel announced yesterday that Ben Affleck will play Batman in Superman’s 2015 return to the silver screen. Director Zack Snyder announced earlier this summer that the Superman sequel would include the Caped Crusader. Superhero fans have been buzzing ever since about who would reprise the role most recently filled by Christian Bale. Despite Affleck’s acting and directing chops—he won three Oscars for Argo—not everyone is pleased with his selection. Criticism seems mostly to focus on his last superhero effort, Daredevil. I think I’m the only person in the world who liked that movie.