Voter Suppression

Federal Judge Rules Against Texas Voter ID Law. Again.

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Although the Supreme Court declared that racism is over and nullified a crucial portion of the Voting Rights Act, some states have managed to go far enough that they may be placed back on the list of states who must seek clearance from the Department of Justice before altering their voting laws.

A federal judge in Texas has once again ruled that state lawmakers intended to discriminate against minority voters when they passed their voter ID law.

HOUSTON — A federal judge ruled on Monday that the voter identification law the Texas Legislature passed in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, raising the possibility that the state’s election procedures could be put back under federal oversight. [...]

The judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, had made a similar ruling in 2014, but after Texas appealed her decision, a federal appellate court instructed her to review the issue once more.

The arch-conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans ordered Judge Ramos to reconsider her ruling that lawmakers intended to discriminate against minority voters, but Ramos apparently wasn't impressed by the evidence.

This is the fifth time (including Ramos's first ruling) a judge has ruled that the voter ID law is discriminatory.

A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the state will appeal the ruling, of course, but if the state's appeal fails they may be required to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice before making any further changes to the law. Texas was among the states who were required to seek pre-clearance before the Supreme Court struck down that portion of the Voting Rights Act.

That would be a positive development, but Jeff Sessions is currently running the Department of Justice and we can't expect him to do anything but encourage state lawmakers.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is still on trial for securities fraud, by the way.