In the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today, a panel of jurists rejected the state of Texas’ request for a declaratory judgment regarding a newly enacted voter identification law. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced that he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas, led Abbott, sued the U.S. Department of Justice and sought a ruling establishing, prior to the November elections, that the state’s new voter ID law satisfied the requirements on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Judge David S. Tatel, a circuit judge, wrote the opinion, joined by U.S. District Judges Rosemary M. Collyer and Robert L. Wilkins.
According to the decision, “The State of Texas enacted a voter ID law that — at least to our knowledge — is the most stringent in the country. That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.”
A statement on the AG’s website says, “The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld Voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box. 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. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail."
Gary Bledsoe of The Law Office of Gary Bledsoe and Associates in Austin represents the Texas Council of NAACP Branches, an intervenor in State of Texas v. Eric H. Holder, Jr. He says of the ruling, “It’s huge.” Bledsoe says that an appeal to the Supreme Court will be unlikely to influence November’s election, since the state had already told the district court that it needed to start implementing the voter identification law by Aug. 31 to make it effective for the balloting this fall.
-- Miriam Rozen