5th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Texas Voter ID Law
Many knew it would not be long. After all, the Greg Abbott appeal would be handled by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, likely the most Conservative Right Wing court in the country. The court reinstated the Texas Voter ID law on grounds that it is too close to the election to make a change. In other words, they are willing to have at least one more cycle of voter suppression instead of erring on fair and free elections. The District Court in Corpus Christie had ruled it was discriminatory.
The Texas Tribune reports the following.
Texas should require photo voter identification in this year’s general election, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, overturning an earlier ruling by a federal district judge in Texas.
“This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election,” the appeals court judges wrote. “The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.”
The law, passed in 2011, took effect last year. But a U.S. district judge in Corpus Christi ruled last week that the law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose. The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax.”
Here is the court’s conclusion found here.
The State’s emergency motion for stay pending appeal is GRANTED, as is its motion to file a brief exceeding page limits. The State has also moved that we maintain its emergency motion for stay pending appeal under seal. The State’s motion contains very few sensitive materials; instead, it cites and quotes a limited number of materials that were filed under seal in the District Court. Rather than maintain the entire motion under seal, the references to the sealed materials should instead be redacted by the State. The State’s motion is GRANTED in that the unredacted version of the motion for stay pending appeal shall be maintained under seal. The State is DIRECTED to file a redacted version of its motion by October 15, 2014.
Case: 14-41127 Document: 00512802898 Page: 11 Date Filed: 10/14/2014No. 14-41127 GREGG COSTA, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment: The district court issued a thorough order finding that the Texas voter ID law is discriminatory. We should be extremely reluctant to have an election take place under a law that a district court has found, and that our court may find, is discriminatory. As always, however, we must follow the dictates of the Supreme Court. In two recent decisions, it stayed injunctions issued based on findings that changes in an election law were discriminatory. See North Carolina v. League of Women Voters of N. Carolina, 14A358, 2014 WL 5026111 (U.S. Oct. 8, 2014); Husted v. Ohio State Conference of N.A.A.C.P., 14A336, 2014 WL 4809069 (U.S. Sept. 29, 2014). It also lifted the Seventh Circuit’s stay of a district court’s order in place since the spring that enjoined Wisconsin’s voter ID law. See Frank v. Walker, 14A352, 2014 WL 5039671 (U.S. Oct. 9, 2014). I agree with Judge Clement that the only constant principle that can be discerned from the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in this area is that its concern about confusion resulting from court changes to election laws close in time to the election should carry the day in the stay analysis. The injunction in this case issued even closer in time to the upcoming election than did the two out of the Fourth and Sixth Circuits that the Supreme Court recently stayed. On that limited basis, I agree a stay should issue.