Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

08_30_top_story_IN

Saying it unconstitutionally infringes upon the rights of blacks, Hispanics and other minorities a three-judge appeals court panel struck down Texas’ voter ID law.

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott said that the state will appeal Thursday’s ruling to the Supreme Court, which is the next stop in a voting rights case.

“Today’s decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana — and were upheld by the Supreme Court,” Abbott said in a statement.

Texas is the largest state covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal approval or “preclearance” of any voting changes in states that have a history of discrimination. Because of Texas’s discrimination history, the voter ID law signed last year by its Republican governor, Rick Perry, had to be cleared by the Justice Department. The department blocked the law in March, saying it would endanger minority voting rights. Texas sued the department, leading to a week-long trial in July.

Tatel was joined in the Texas decision by U.S. district judges Rosemary Collyer, appointed in 2002 by President George W. Bush and Robert L. Wilkins, who was nominated in 2010 by President Obama.

The case is now headed to the Supreme Court, but let’s remember that in 2008 SCOTUS upheld Indiana’s voter ID law.  As we all know by now, the outcome of cases brought before the Supremes is anything but certain.  They can be unpredictable, to put it mildly, but precedent seems to be on the side of Texas.

What will be interesting is what SCOTUS will do with the Voting Rights Act if they do uphold Texas’ case given the federal government’s heavy reliance on that law in making their case.

Most interesting to me, though, is how anyone can say a law which imposes the same identification requirement on all Americans is some how discriminatory to some citizens because of their financial or social status.  Using this sort of thinking, we could argue that the income tax is unconstitutional, since not everyone (including key members of the Obama administration it seems) are smart enough to do their own taxes, or wealthy enough to hire someone else to do them.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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