Lawyers for the state of Texas argued during a court hearing in Corpus Christi on Tuesday that the Legislature did not act with discriminatory intent when it passed a voter ID law that has since been struck down, but they also told a judge that lawmakers will make fixes to it in the current Legislative session. Critics, however, said the proposed changes, if passed in newly introduced legislation, are irrelevant to the discriminatory purpose behind the 2011 law’s passage. Plaintiffs that include civil rights groups asked U.S. District Judge Mary Nelva Gonzales Ramos to hold the state accountable. The groups argue that the Texas law has the potential to keep 600,000 voters, mostly African-Americans and Hispanics, away from the polls. They point, for example, to a provision that allows Texas voters to use hunting licenses as identification, but not student identification cards.
The Justice Department, under new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, last week ended the five years it spent fighting against the law alongside the plaintiffs. The department withdrew an amicus brief that had been filed under Sessions’ predecessor, Loretta Lynch, who had argued that Texas’ law was discriminatory.
That decision did not end the lawsuit. The Brennan Center for Justice has challenged the law on behalf of the Texas NAACP and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives. Their claims were consolidated with those brought by existing groups of plaintiffs, who had victories in the case at a trial in 2014, and on an appeal.
Full Article: Texas’ Voter ID law back in court after Justice Department pulls out – San Antonio Express-News.