And if it is, it’s all the fault of the State of Texas.
In another blow to advocates of Texas’ voter ID law, a federal district court ruled today that the law will likely not be in place by the November general election unless the state turns over requested documents by Wednesday.
Late last month, DOJ asked the district court in Washington, D.C., that will hear the case to postpone the trial. It is scheduled to start July 9. In an order issued today, the court said that Texas has not acted with a sense of urgency.
“Rather than engaging in expedited discovery consistent with its stated goal, Texas has taken steps that can only be interpreted as having the aim of delaying Defendants’ ability to receive and analyze data and documents in a timely fashion,” the court stated. “Texas has repeatedly ignored or violated directives and orders of this Court that were designed to expedite discovery, and Texas has failed to produce in a timely manner key documents that Defendants need to prepare their defense.”
The court gave the state one final chance today, with very specific conditions, to turn over the information the Department of Justice is seeking. The department is specifically asking for databases and voter information it says will prove the voter ID measure will have a “disparate and retrogressive” impact on minority voters.
“If any of these deadlines or conditions cannot or will not be met, then the delays or ancillary litigation that will result will either make a July 9 trial impossible at all, or impossible without undue and manifest prejudice to the United States and Defendant-Intervenors,” the order instructs.
The state must turn over to the government by Wednesday proof that it has discussed this month’s deadlines with document custodians, technology staff, legal and administrative staff and prove that it can meet every subsequent trial deadline.
Additionally, the state must produce legislators that have been subpoenaed, something Abbott tried to block last month.
Texas Redistricting has the court’s order, which among other things notes that the defendants – that is, the Justice Department – have “worked tirelessly in discovery so that this case may be tried the week of July 9, 2012” and that the Court “would be well within its discretion to continue the July 9 trial date, to impose monetary sanctions against Texas, or to keep the July 9 trial date and impose evidentiary sanctions such as an adverse inference upon Texas”. This is what they call a bench-slapping. PDiddie wonders what AG Abbott is trying to accomplish by its foot-dragging while insisting on a speedy trial, but I think the TDP’s explanation is the correct one: The state has something to hide, and they know it. We’ll see for ourselves tomorrow what that might be.