Election Day has come and gone but the court battle over Texas’ controversial voter-identification law rages on. In documents filed in federal court late last week, the U.S. Justice Department argued that not only does the 2011 law violate the voting rights of minority Texans, but that the elected leaders who pushed the measure known as Senate Bill 14 through the Legislature intended to disenfranchise those voters. “This discriminatory impact was not merely an unintended consequence of SB 14,” the Justice Department said in its filing. “It was, in part, SB 14’s purpose. Compelling evidence establishes that Texas enacted SB 14 at least in part because of its detrimental effects on African-American and Hispanic voters.”
In a rebuttal document, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office flatly rejected the assertion, saying the Republican-dominated Legislature passed the bill because of public concern over voter fraud that had lingered since the disputed presidential election of 2000.
“The baseless narrative promoted by Plaintiffs ignores not only the legislative record but also the historical context of S.B. 14, which begins with the 2000 election — a watershed moment when many citizens questioned the confidence they had in American electoral systems, in light of that year’s hotly contested presidential election” the attorney general’s brief states. “In the aftermath, a consensus developed that numerous changes needed to be made, including changes to address potential voter fraud.”
U.S. District Judge Gonzales of Corpus Christi ruled in 2014 that the Texas law violates the Voting Rights Act by having an “impermissible effect” on minority voters and places an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. This summer, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the law endangers the voting rights of blacks and Hispanics and instructed the trial court to fix it.
Full Article: DOJ: Texas voter ID law intentionally discriminates.