A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that could have national implications for states that require voters to present government-issued forms of photo identification at the polls. The issue at hand — Texas’ contentious photo ID law — is expected to ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court. But first a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case. There, voting rights advocates will argue that a federal judge’s ruling from October — which called the law an unconstitutional “poll tax,” intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote — should be upheld. Critics of the law argued that hundreds of thousands of Texans lacked the correct form of identification, but the state’s leadership has insisted that the law is meant to protect against voter fraud and is not an effort to make it more difficult for any demographic to vote.
In light of the imminent election in November, the 5th Circuit stayed the federal judge’s ruling. The Supreme Court then declined an emergency request to prevent the law from going into effect. This decision not to intervene, according to SCOTUSblog, “was the first time since 1982 that the Supreme Court has allowed a law restricting voting access to be enforced after a federal court had ruled it to be unconstitutional because it intentionally discriminated against minorities.”
Given the winding, complicated path Texas’ photo ID law has taken to reach a federal appeals court, The Huffington Post has assembled a timeline of the most significant events since former Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed the bill four years ago.
Full Article: Four Years Later, Texas Is Still Defending Its Voter ID Law.