Civil rights groups challenging Texas’ voter identification law are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the measure from being used during the 2016 general election. It’s the latest in a years-long court fight involving the state’s voter ID law, which is considered among the strictest in the country. The groups are arguing that time is running out to tweak or prevent the law from being used before the November elections. A Corpus Christi federal judge ruled in October 2014 the law was unconstitutional, in part, because it had a discriminatory effect that illegally hindered minorities from casting ballots. A three-judge panel from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with that ruling last year and ordered the law to be fixed. But the Fifth Circuit has allowed the law to stay in effect without change following both rulings, and now the full appeals court has now agreed to rehear the case. Oral arguments are set for May 24.
The civil rights groups filed a motion Friday with the Supreme Court asking it to vacate a Fifth Circuit ruling that has allowed the voter ID law to continue being implemented unchanged and to reinstate an injunction against the measure. The groups also asked the high court to consider giving the federal court in Corpus Christi limited jurisdiction over the case to issue a new injunction.
Requiring one of seven forms of valid ID, Texas’ voter ID law is considered one of the most stringent in the country. The Legislature passed the measure in 2011, and it has been the subject of litigation ever since.