The Supreme Court refused Friday to block Texas’ photo ID law, the strictest in the nation, from remaining in effect for now, but it left open the possibility of doing so this summer if a lower court challenge remains unresolved. Civil rights groups who say the law discriminates against black and Hispanic voters had argued that it should be blocked because it was struck down by a federal court in 2014, and no higher court has yet to overturn that ruling. It was the second time the high court had refused to block the photo ID law. In October 2014, the justices allowed Texas to enforce it in its pending November elections. That order was not signed, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a six-page dissent, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg said at the time.
The law is the strictest in the nation, permitting only certain types of photo ID at the polls. Gun licenses are included; college IDs are not. It was enacted to cut down on in-person voter fraud, but critics said only two people were convicted of impersonating others at the polls during a recent 10-year period.
A federal district judge in Corpus Christi had struck down the Texas law in 2014 after a two-week trial. Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled it was passed by the Texas state Legislature in 2011 with a “discriminatory purpose” and could disenfranchise about 600,000 voters, a disproportionate number of whom are black or Hispanic.
Full Article: Supreme Court won’t block Texas photo ID law — yet.