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Texas goes long on voter ID

From Michael Li:

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

The only voter ID anyone should need

The State of Texas is seeking permission from the three-judge panel in the voter ID case to file an amended complaint that would directly challenge the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

The amended complaint told the court in the introduction that, as an alternative grounds for relief, “the State of Texas seeks a declaration that section 5, as most recently amended and reauthorized by the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006, exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.”

With the filing, Texas now moves to the forefront, along with the Shelby County case out of Alabama, in re-raising the constitutional issue after the high court’s 2009 decision to punt the issue. However, because Texas’ case, unlike the Shelby County case, involves a three-judge panel, appeals from the case would go directly to the Supreme Court. That means Texas’ case has the potential for getting to the Supreme Court first, depending on how the timing works out. (Shelby County was argued in late January at the D.C. Circuit and is pending decision.)

Here’s an AP report that’s wordier but essentially the same otherwise, and a Statesman story that has a little more, including a quote from Michael Li. Just because the state asks doesn’t mean they’ll be granted their motion, and of course just because they throw the bomb doesn’t mean they’ll connect. But needless to say, the stakes are higher now. You can see a copy of the amended complaint here, and Rick Hasen has a good summary of what it’s all about as well. The action will happen quickly, now with more intervenors, so stay tuned.

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2 Comments

  1. Mainstream says:

    The VRA is such a sacred cow that politicians are wary of voting for changes which would be perceived as racism. So, although the Supreme Court warned Congress that the 25 year extension of federal oversight over all local voting-related decisions might be unconstitutional [too long a time period, and no logical reason the rules don’t apply to Louisville but do apply to Austin, etc.) in a recent Austin MUD district case, Congress has not acted.

    I predict Section 5 will be ruled unconstitutional, next black and Hispanic activists will scream that Jim Crow is back and that the court is racist, and then there will be a divisive battle in Congress about whether to overrule the Supreme Court.

  2. [...] there will be the status conference tomorrow. The trial itself is scheduled for July 9, but the constitutional issues the state wants to bring up won’t be addressed until and unless preclearance is denied, so [...]

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