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Posts Tagged ‘Justice Department’

Congressional Dems request federal investigation of Abbott’s persecution of Houston Votes

Good. Democratic congressmen from Texas have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a raid by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office that targeted a nonprofit voter registration group. The Dallas Morning News reported Aug. 31 on the attorney general’s criminal investigation of Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud. The probe was […]

Voter ID trial testimony ends

The state of Texas put on its case in the voter ID trial. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office presented witnesses Wednesday in federal court defending the state voter ID law as necessary and attempting to rebuff claims that it is discriminatory. The state’s case in the federal trial, now in its second week, […]

Defense to begin in voter ID lawsuit

Entering the home stretch. The Texas voter ID trial with national implications is shifting its focus in U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ courtroom Tuesday. After a week of testimony largely opposed to the law, the State of Texas’ legal team is slated to begin making its case for the law’s constitutionality and necessity after […]

The best coverage of the voter ID trial

You want to know what’s going on with the voter ID trial, which enters its second and likely final week today, go check out the Brennan Center for Justice, which has daily coverage that would put any newspaper to shame. Here’s a sample of what they’ve written so far: Texas Photo ID Trial Update: Opening […]

Voter ID trial starts today

As one trial ends, the next one begins. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi will begin hearing arguments Tuesday on one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID measures, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law in 2011. A ruling is unlikely before Election Day, meaning that 13.6 million registered voters […]

We need more mobile ID stations

From the inbox, from the League of Women Voters. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF TEXAS CALLS ON SECRETARY OF STATE TO EXPAND AND IMPROVE EFFORTS TO PROVIDE ELECTION IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATES AUSTIN, TX – “We are deeply concerned that eligible voters could be disenfranchised this November and we urge the Secretary of State to expand her […]

On redistricting and race

Phase Two of the redistricting trial is underway, and if it sounds an awful lot like Phase One to you, you would be right. Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature didn’t discriminate against minorities by drawing election maps in 2011 that voting-rights activists say make it harder for Hispanics and blacks to elect their candidates, a lawyer for […]

Redistricting II: Congressional Boogaloo

Phase Two of the redistricting lawsuit trial begins today, in which the 2011 Congressional maps go under the microscope. That’s as good a time as any for the mandatory How Much All This Redistricting Litigation Is Costing Us story. Texans are on the hook for $3.9 million in costs for Attorney General Greg Abbott to […]

First phase of redistricting trial ends

Not much of interest must have happened, because news reports have been sparse, to say the least. The first phase of the federal trial examining claims that state lawmakers discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters when redrawing Texas House districts in 2011 came to an end Tuesday, as both sides made closing arguments to a […]

What else is at stake in the redistricting trial

It’s about more than just the maps. Efforts by the Obama administration to wring protections out of a weakened Voting Rights Act begin Monday in Texas over allegations that Republicans intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing new election maps. A federal trial in San Antonio comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court made a […]

Students against voter ID

A new front is opened in the fight against voter ID. Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students. […]

Almost nobody is following Rick Perry’s lead in defying the Prison Rape Elimination Act

Emily dePrang has the story. Back in March, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declaring his intent to defy a federal law designed to reduce sexual assault in prison. It was a very Perry letter, slinging around terms like “ridiculous” and “unacceptable” and “costly regulatory mess.” But perhaps the […]

Two wins against voter ID

Good news from Wisconsin. Trying to crack down on in-person voter fraud isn’t a strong enough justification for Wisconsin’s voter ID law, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, because voter impersonation virtually never occurs now and is unlikely to become a real problem in the future. In striking down the 2011 law signed by Gov. Scott […]

No hiding behind privilege

Here’s your latest voter ID litigation update, from the Brad Blog: Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state’s extreme polling […]

Perry says Texas will not comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act

Amazing the number of laws Rick Perry refuses to obey, isn’t it? More than a decade after the Prison Rape Elimination Act unanimously passed Congress, federal standards for implementation of the law have been finalized. Now, Gov. Rick Perry and some prison reform advocates are at odds over what those standards mean for Texas lockups […]

Last stand against school closures

Last chance, too. Community activists called Tuesday for HISD to spare two schools from closure in a last-ditch effort that included filing a federal civil-rights complaint alleging racial discrimination. Charles X. White, president of the city’s South Park Super Neighborhood group, said he had asked federal authorities to investigate HISD’s proposal to close schools in […]

Voter ID trial still on track for September

It could have been delayed till after the November election. A federal judge in Corpus Christi ruled on Wednesday that a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s controversial Voter ID law is expected to begin in September as scheduled, 1200 WOAI news reports. Civil Rights groups like the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which […]

Followup on that report about sexual assault in the Harris County jail

Last month, I blogged about a report by the Justice Department that alleged a high rate of sexual assault in one of the Harris County jail buildings. Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who testified about the report in Congress to a panel of citizen correctional experts, was sharply critical of the study’s methodology. Click the link for […]

Sexual assault in the Harris County jail

This sounds very bad, but there are some questions about how the numbers were determined. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, defending his staff against a federal study that found startling levels of sexual abuse at one of his jails, testified Wednesday that his sprawling corrections system was constantly working to better protect inmates. Garcia was […]

Thanksgiving weekend voter ID update

Some statistics to throw some cold water on the claims that there were “no problems” with the voter ID law. Delays at the polls this month due to glitches with voters’ identifications could signal a bigger problem to come next year, when many more turn out for state and county elections. Thousands of voters had […]

Voter ID trial set for September

Texas Redistricting: At [Friday] morning’s scheduling conference, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos set trial in the consolidated Texas voter ID cases for September 2, 2014, adopting the date proposed by Congressman Marc Veasey over a proposed March 2015 trial date preferred by the State of Texas and some of the other plaintiffs. The court also granted a request […]

Another lawsuit filed against the voter ID law

The Observer reports. Election Day last week brought plenty of complaints at the polls about Texas’ new voter ID law, but it also brought one major complaint in Corpus Christi federal court, where nine voters joined La Unión Del Pueblo Entero in suing the state over its tough new voting requirements. The plaintiffs are long-time voters […]

State moves to dismiss voter ID lawsuit

From Texas Redistricting has week: The State of Texas filed a motion this afternoon asking Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to dismiss pending voter ID suits on several grounds. First, the motion argued that elected officials like Congressman Marc Veasey, governmental bodies like Dallas County, and community groups like the Texas League of Young Voters “lack […]

Voter ID litigation moving again

From Texas Redistricting last week: The Texas voter ID litigation geared back up today, with the court setting a number of new or revised deadlines now that the government shutdown is over. Responses to motions by True the Vote and the Texas Association of Hispanic County Judges and County Commissioners to intervene are now due October […]

Redistricting trial set for July

The San Antonio federal court has set a date in July of 2014 to resolve the litigation relating to the 2011 and 2013 redistrictings. A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio on Friday issued a schedule for the case, mostly granting state attorneys’ wishes to have the claims regarding 2011 and 2013 redistricting maps argued in one […]

Justice Department files another voter ID lawsuit

In North Carolina this time. The Justice Department filed suit against North Carolina on Monday, charging that the Tar Heel State’s new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls violates the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against African-Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the lawsuit at Justice Department headquarters, flanked by the […]

Court rules DOJ can intervene in 2011 redistricting case

Texas Redistricting: The San Antonio court entered an order [Tuesday] allowing the Justice Department into the Texas redistricting case as an intervenor. In somewhat of a surprise, however, the decision was 2-1, with Circuit Judge Jerry Smith dissenting. The court majority – consisting of Judge Orlando Garcia and Judge Xavier Rodriguez – ruled that the […]

Third lawsuit filed against the voter ID law

The more, the merrier. Two groups representing minority voters and officeholders sued to block the state’s new Voter ID law, which will be used for the first time in a statewide Texas election this November — barring intervention by a court. The new law requires voters to show an approved photo identification card when they […]

The voter ID effect

The conventional wisdom is that we’re unlikely to see the full effect of the voter ID law until next year. The true test of how voter ID will affect voters — and whether it will sway elections — won’t come next month after a special election in Edinburg. And it might not even come this […]

2011 maps not moot, 2014 primaries to be held on time

Texas Redistricting: [Friday] afternoon, the San Antonio court entered an order denying a request by the State of Texas to dismiss claims about the 2011 maps on grounds on mootness. The court’s order also granted requests by African-American and Hispanic plaintiffs to amend their pleadings to add requests that Texas be bailed into preclearance coverage […]

Redistricting and voter ID lawsuit updates

From Texas Redistricting, a typically thorough look at where things stand with redistricting and voter ID litigation in the three courts – San Antonio, where the redistricting litigation has been ongoing and is likely due for some action; Corpus Christi, where the recent voter ID lawsuits were filed and now stand, likely pending consolidation; and […]

Lawsuit filed against Galveston County redistricting

Expect more of this going forward. A Galveston County plan slashing the number of justice-of-the-peace districts from eight to four intentionally discriminates against minority voters and should be blocked, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday. The lawsuit comes exactly one week after Galveston County commissioners approved a redistricting plan for justices of the peace […]

More redistricting shenanigans on the way

The city of Galveston prepares to make like Pasadena. [Gulf Coast Interfaith], which includes representatives of the NAACP and others, sent a letter Thursday to the city of Galveston’s attorney also questioning the wisdom of the city seeking to make a change by having two council seats elected city-wide, rather than coming from individual districts. […]

DOJ files suit against Texas’ voter ID law and redistricting maps

Excellent. The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it will again seek to dismantle Texas’ voter ID law, this time with a lawsuit alleging the measure violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The department also said on Thursday that it will seek to have Texas’ redistricting maps declared unconstitutional. Section 2 of the 1965 […]