Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the state’s controversial voter identification law, which was ruled unconstitutional this year by a federal appeals court on grounds that it harmed the voting rights of minorities. Paxton, a first-term Republican, had signaled earlier that he would ask the high court to overrule the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and allow Texas to resume enforcing voter ID under the law as it was passed by the Legislature in 2013. “The success of American democracy hinges on whether or not voters trust the integrity of the election process,” Paxton said in a late-afternoon news release. “Voter ID laws both prevent fraud as well as ensure that election results accurately reflect the will of Texas voters. The Legislature enacted common sense reforms, which should be respected by this nation’s courts.”
But the U.S. Justice Department, which will be under new management after President-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20, said last month that the GOP-dominated Legislature passed the law “at least in part because of its detrimental effects on African-American and Hispanic voters.”
It’s unclear whether the Justice Department under Trump will shift its stance on voter ID, although several civil rights groups, not the federal government, are leading the challenge against the Texas law.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos 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: Paxton formally asks Supreme Court to take up voter ID.