During Barack Obama’s second term as president, Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn allowed vacancies on Texas’ federal appeals court to fester, but now that President Donald Trump is in charge they might move quickly to morph the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals into a breeding ground for conservative-leaning decisions. “The one thing Trump said he wanted Ted Cruz’s advice on was judges,” said Kelly Shackleford of the First Liberty Institute, a conservative legal defense organization that talked with Trump about judicial appointments. “You’ve got Cornyn, who was a (Texas state) Supreme Court justice, so you’ve got people who are really known for their expertise.” The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which comprises all of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, is generally considered one of the more conservative federal courts in the country, but it struck down Texas’ controversial voter-ID law last July. That might soon change with Trump in office.
“My biggest fear from this particular regime is that they’ll do everything they can in the future to put up further barriers,” said Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, the plaintiff in the voter ID case.
“I’m worried about in-person voter registration. I’m worried about reduced days for early voting,” Veasey said. “There are lots of different things that can really, really wreak havoc on the black and Hispanic community, and there seems to be no empathy from this regime at all or any previous Texas regimes that have been in office and held the governorship, and . . . we need to be vigilant and we need to fight.”