The only Democrat in elected statewide office in Texas is suing to upend the state’s photo voter ID law, saying it’s an unconstitutional obstacle to a legal activity: voting. The rogue in question is Larry Meyers, who was elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as a Republican in 1992 and re-elected in 1998, 2004 and 2010. At the end of 2013, he changed parties, irritated with the direction of his party and wanting to make a statement on his way out of office — if that’s where the switch takes him. Meyers says he left the Republican Party “after the Tea Party takeover” and says the infighting within the GOP has only confirmed his decision. He refers to his former political home as “the Donner Party,” after an infamous case of cannibalism among settlers in the 1840s. “They’re eating each other up,” he says.
Meyers filed his state lawsuit in October 2014, while another legal challenge to the state’s voter ID law was pending in federal court in Corpus Christi. A federal judge overturned the law, but it has remained in effect during the state’s appeals to higher courts.
Meanwhile, state and local officials in Texas tried to get Meyers’ challenge dismissed. A Dallas trial judge — former state lawmaker Dale Tillery, a Democrat — refused that request. Now those officials are asking the state’s 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas to toss it. That hearing is set for Tuesday.