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Voting-related lawsuit updates

From Texas Redistricting:

The three-judge panel presiding over the Texas voter ID entered an order this morning adopting a briefing schedule for questions about the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

With minor differences, the schedule tracks the proposal made by lawyers for the Justice Department and intervenors.

Here’s the schedule:

Texas shall file its motion for summary judgment and memorandum in support by October 1, 2012.

The Attorney General and Defendant-Intervenors shall each file oppositions to Texas’s summary judgment motion and cross-motions for summary judgment and memoranda in support thereof by October 22, 2012.

Texas shall file a reply in support of its motion for summary judgment and oppositions to the Attorney General’s and Defendant-Intervenors’ cross-motions for summary judgment by November 1, 2012.

The Attorney General and Defendant-Intervenors shall file replies in support of their respective cross-motions for summary judgment by November 12, 2012.

I’d say it’s odds on that Texas will not be granted summary judgment, so at some point there will be oral arguments, just as there were for the voter ID preclearance trial. There’s no date for that just yet.

From the Texas Tribune:

An voting rights advocacy group filed an emergency appeal on Friday with the nation’s highest court, hoping it will overturn an appellate court’s decision it says hinders voter registration in Texas.

[…]

In its appeal, Project Vote alleges that the laws violate voters’ constitutional right to free speech, which Costa agreed with in his original decision. He also ruled that the new laws would hinder turnout at the polls in November.

“Voter registration drives have played a vital role in increasing participation in the political process,” Costa wrote. “This is especially true in minority communities with historically lower rates of voter registration.”

But the appeal may have come too late. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court decides to meet in an emergency session, it will not convene until its regular term begins in October. The deadline to register to vote during the Nov. 6 election in Texas is Oct. 9.

Seems unlikely to me, but it’s certainly worth a try.

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