Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Supreme Court Refuses Texas Appeal Of Voter ID Decision

Last year at this time, Texas had one of the most restrictive Voter ID laws in the nation. But Democrats, recognizing it as a voter suppression effort by the Republican legislature, filed a lawsuit claiming it discriminated against minorities (because in many of the 254 counties it would be very difficult for them to get an ID).

Last summer, a U.S. District judge in San Antonio ruled that the Democrats were right -- the law did discriminate against minorities. She ordered that an accommodation be made for those unable to reasonably secure an ID, and the state of Texas agreed. A simple form was created for those without an ID, and they were allowed to vote in the last election (as long as they were legally registered to vote).

It was a compromise, and neither side was totally happy with it -- but it was used in the November 2016 election, and it worked. That wasn't good enough for the teabagger Republicans in state government though, and they appealed the judges decision. They lost that appeal in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and appealed then to the U.S. Supreme Court. They wanted the Supreme Court to reinstate fully the original (and very stringent) Voter ID law.

They lost again. On Monday, the Supreme Court officially refused to hear the appeal from Texas -- effectively denying the appeal and upholding the decision (i.e., compromise) of the District Court judge.

The Texas attorney general said the matter still was not settled. He will probably try to appeal once again (probably after a new Trump-appointed justice is seated). I hope the view of the Supreme Court will still be the same when that happens.

The judge made a reasonable and constitutional decision, and if the silly law can't be totally eliminated, then the judge's compromise decision should remain the law of Texas.

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