Friday, August 31, 2012

A court in D.C strikes down a voter-ID law in Texas

United States District Court,
District of Columbia.

State of TEXAS, Plaintiff,
Eric H. HOLDER, JR., Defendant.

Civil Action No. 12–cv–128 (DST, RMC, RLW).

Aug. 30, 2012.
Adam W. Aston, John William McKenzie, Matthew Hamilton Frederick, Patrick Kinney Sweeten, Texas Attorney General, Austin, TX, Asha L.I. Spencer, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Elizabeth Stewart Westfall, Matthew Colangelo, Meredith E.B. Bell–Platts, Bruce I. Gear, Bryan L. Sells, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

Before TATEL, Circuit Judge, and COLLYER and WILKINS, District Judges.

TATEL, Circuit Judge.

*1 Pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas seeks a declaratory judgment that Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), a newly-enacted law requiring in-person voters to present a photo ID, “neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race [,] color,” or “member[ship] [in] a language minority group.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973c(a), 1973b(f)(2). To satisfy section 5's effect requirement, Texas must demonstrate that SB 14 will not “lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130, 141 (1976). For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we find that Texas has failed to make this showing—in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect. Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied section 5's purpose element. Accordingly, we deny the state's request for a declaratory judgment....

Why does it matter?

Check out the tenth and final episode of this season's "The Newsroom" for the answer:

The short answer is that voter ID laws are one more way that the GOP is striving to disenfranchise the poor, who are likely to vote Democratic.  Add this to the Citizens United decision and the busting of public-employee unions in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, and the picture of a broad strategy to steal an election and a nation begins to take visible shape.

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