USA drops some claims against Texas voter ID law

28 February, 2017, 00:56 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

The Texas law requires voters to show one of seven approved forms of identification to cast a ballot.

Last summer, judges on the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the law was discriminatory but said they could not come to a conclusion on whether the Legislature had intentionally discriminated when writing the law.

The Justice Department on Monday informed attorneys for a civil rights group challenging the voter ID law that the government plans to file court papers to withdraw the DOJ's discriminatory goal claim.

I would say this current administration is looking amusing in the light, but truth be told, it was looking amusing in the dark to begin with.

Danielle Lang, the Campaign Legal Center's deputy director of voting rights, said that the Justice Department informed her group and the other groups suing Texas - including the Brennan Center for Justice, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund - of the government's change in position Monday morning. He also reacted positively to the Supreme Court's ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down several sections of the Voting Rights Act, including one provision to which the Texas law would have been subject.

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"If new Texas state voter identification legislation is enacted into law, it will significantly affect the remainder of this litigation", the DOJ and Texas jointly argued.

However, the judge denied that request and the hearing on whether the law was passed with discriminatory intent is still scheduled for Tuesday in federal district court in Corpus Christi. It's unclear at this point whether DOJ will take the position that Texas legislatures acted without discriminatory intent, or if they simply will remain neutral on the question, but a filing is expected by the end of the day. She is also tasked with overseeing changes to the law that would allow the state to safeguard the integrity of its elections while not discriminating against minority voters.

A spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) declined to comment on the Justice Department's decision.

The DOJ had previously argued exactly that. That claim was made by the Obama administration as part of a broader legal challenge to the law, which is among the strictest in the nation. "We are seeing early reminders of what a Justice Department looks like when it drops the ideological pet projects and follows the law".

In a 2014 ruling, Ramos found that Texas meant to discriminate, but the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals - in a ruling affirming the law's discriminatory effect - instructed Ramos to reconsider the evidence. For one, there may be no other state where Republicans have more to lose from a sharp uptick in voter participation among nonwhite voters: If Texas's Hispanic citizens turned out at the same rate as its non-Hispanic whites, it would (almost certainly) be a swing state by now.

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