Voter Suppression

Texas Voter ID Law Struck Down, Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Not to be confused with the first iteration of the law, the latest voter ID law passed by the Texas state legislature has been struck down.

The state legislature passed a new voter ID law to replace the first one that was struck down in court, but their replacement has now been thrown out because, according to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, the new version didn't really change anything.

Minority groups suing the state had asked Ramos to scrap SB 5, saying it still dripped with discrimination — largely because lawmakers did not expand the list of acceptable IDs.

Ramos agreed in her ruling Wednesday.

“SB 5 does not meaningfully expand the types of photo IDs that can qualify, even though the Court was clearly critical of Texas having the most restrictive list in the country,” she wrote. "Not one of the discriminatory features of [the old law] is fully ameliorated by the terms of SB 5."

State lawmakers also added a provision imposing jail sentences on those who used an alternative form of ID to vote if the state found evidence that they lied about not possessing a regular ID. This represented an "effort at voter intimidation" according to Judge Ramos.

Now, I may have lost count, but if you include all the appeals I believe this is the 5th or 6th (7th?) time the state's voter ID law has been struck down. This process has already seen the inside of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once and it may be headed there again.

I don't know if the Fifth Circuit will agree with the lower court again, but if I were a judge in that district I may start to feel like the state is insulting my intelligence.

  • muselet

    Texas will appeal to the Fifth Circuit and then, if the state doesn’t prevail, the Supreme Court. If Texas gets shut down by the Supremes, the Lege will do another quick pass (which makes no substantive changes) on the voter ID law, the state will get sued again, and the process starts up again. It’s all so tedious and predictable.

    If we had a functioning Department of Justice—and if John Roberts hadn’t (as Charlie Pierce regularly reminds us) declared the Day of Jubilee regarding race relations—Texas would rightly get slapped down and the game-playing might finally stop.


  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    According to a trustworthy Texan I know (but I cannot seem to authenticate this externally):

    Texas Governor Gregg Abbott made this comment after he said that the ruling does not matter……He was asked about the “rule of Law”…

    He said, ” Rule of Law? That has been destroyed over the last decade. There is no more rule of law, per se…..the Federal Government decided that.”

    Take it with a small grain of salt.


    Here you have it, ladies and gentlemen: The Party of Law and Order!

    • The worst culprits ignoring the Rule of Law are frigging Republicans, particularly at the state level. And Ashby, I heard someone else say that this is the 10th time a TX voter Id law has been struck down. Don’t know if they’re counting all laws or just the various iterations of this one. I would think after so many failed attempts the courts could hold someone in contempt or something. How many years are they going to keep doing this and in the meantime their party continues to steal elections? They don’t care if their laws are unconstitutional–it’s strictly a holding action.

    • muselet

      I did a quick trawl through the internet and I can’t find a source for Greg Abbott saying that (I might have missed it). It is the sort of nonsense he regularly spews, though.