A federal judge struck down the Texas voter ID law on Thursday and ordered state officials to drop the requirements.
In her 147 page decision U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an Obama appointee wrote:
“The Court holds that SB 14 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.”
A spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott, said that the state would immediately appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election, Lauren Bean said in an email. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal.”
Under the law, a limited number of photo IDs are acceptable including a Texas driver’s license or state ID card that is not more than 60 days expired at the time of voting, a concealed handgun license, a U.S. passport, a military ID card or a U.S citizenship certificate with a photo.
While Abbott maintains that the Supreme Court has ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional, the court blocked implementation of a similar law in Wisconsin overturning a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late on Thursday. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented saying that there was no evidence that the lower court had not ruled properly.
The law passed in 2011 but implementation had was put on hold until a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that allowed for voter ID laws.
Texas officials maintain that the law is necessary to insure the integrity of elections, although there is no evidence that in-person voter fraud is a problem.
Wendy Davis the Democratic candidate for governor said of the ruling:
“This is great news for democracy. I call on Attorney General Greg Abbott to drop his defense of a law that a court has now called a ‘poll tax’ and ‘discriminatory’ against African-Americans and Hispanics.”
“We are greatly encouraged by today’s decision,” said Texas NAACP president Gary Bledsoe. “This decision vindicates what African American and Latino leaders have been saying since this law was first proposed, that it discriminates against minority voters and was designed to do just that.”
h/t: Huffington Post