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High Court decision clears way for Texas voting laws

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Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 4:30 am

AUSTIN — Texas will immediately begin enforcing a voter identification law that a federal court found discriminates against minorities, the state attorney general said Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court suspended a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act.

Attorney General Greg Abbott said the ruling also means Texas officials won’t have to seek federal approval before changing congressional and legislative boundaries to account for population shifts in the rapidly growing state.

Under the 1965 act, Texas is one of the states — mostly in the South — that must have its voting law changes “precleared” by the federal courts to make sure they don’t discriminate against minorities. Although Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t strike down the requirement, it finds the provision can’t be used until Congress comes up with a new formula to determine what jurisdictions should be subject to it.

The ruling figured to have a major effect on the fate of Texas’ congressional and legislative maps. A federal court in Washington, D.C., struck down one set of maps approved by the Legislature last year, and lawmakers pushed through new ones during a special session that concluded Tuesday. Should Gov. Rick Perry sign them into law, the state might

enact them without sending them back to the courts for approval first.

Abbott, one of several state attorneys general who sued to overturn the preapproval aspect to the law, said a more immediate impact of the ruling would be enacting a state law requiring voters to show a state-issued voter ID. Another panel of judges struck down that law as discriminatory to minorities last year.

“The U.S. Constitution establishes one United States — not a divided nation with different laws applying to different states,” he said in a statement. “Today’s ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect.”

The Supreme Court found Congress unjustly relied on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress when determining which states should be subject to review. Until Congress comes up with a new formula, no state is subject to review.

Texas minority lawmakers and civil rights groups deplored the decision and vowed to use the earlier court rulings to block the laws in other courts on constitutional grounds and under another section of the Voting Rights Act not affected by Tuesday’s decision.

“Texas is the only state in the nation with back-to-back findings of discrimination in the country,” said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “When it comes to poster children for voting rights, Texas will be front and center.”

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, an African-American Democrat from Houston, declared the ruling a strike against protections for minority voters across the country.

“I don’t know what America those five Supreme Court justices are living in to be able to pretend that deliberate and blatant attempts to disenfranchise people of color at the ballot box do not exist,” he said. “Congress must act now to protect the voting rights of millions of Americans.”

Jose Garza, the lead attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said he could still use the Washington courts’ rulings and evidence of intentional discrimination in an ongoing federal lawsuit in San Antonio over voting maps.

He said the group was studying how they might also use that evidence to seek an injunction to stop enforcement of the voter ID law with a new lawsuit.

“The D.C. court found that the voted ID bill was adopted with intentional discrimination,” Garza said. “We are not laying down, we are using whatever vehicles and tools we have at our disposal in Texas to fight the discriminatory laws enacted by the Legislature in Texas.”

 

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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3 comments:

  • Eliza posted at 8:10 am on Wed, Jun 26, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 755

    @ “Texas is the only state in the nation with back-to-back findings of discrimination in the country,” said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “When it comes to poster children for voting rights, Texas will be front and center.”
    State Sen. Rodney Ellis, an African-American Democrat from Houston, declared the ruling a strike against protections for minority voters across the country.


    And I would have to say, I find all of the above a bunch of Bull, Made up by trouble makers who have shown themselves to be a group mal-contents. Always looking for a reason to say 'America has mis-treated someone.

    I vote in every election, Any time I do,There are people from all races there voting at the same time. So if there's a problem for any voting, Why are people there of all races, all colors?
    If there were still a problem for any legal American as far as voting, I would be one of the people complaining about it.

    But the only problem is ,there's people who make their living from causing trouble, for the people they say they are looking out for, but I don't think that's their true reason..
    I believe ,they are only looking out for their own benefit and any gain they can make off of it ,and they use, the people they can get to believe they are being mis-treated.

     
  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 6:41 am on Wed, Jun 26, 2013.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 220

    "Texas will immediately begin enforcing a voter identification law."
    I am all for this law. I think it will help cut down on...Voter Fraud.
    We will still have issues, but it will help.

    How is showing an ID to prove who you are such an issue?


     
  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 6:31 am on Wed, Jun 26, 2013.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 220

    We have, African-American, Mexican-American, Asian-Americans so what are whites considered?
    Are we English-Americans, German-Americans, etc.?
    I thought we were ALL...AMERICANS.
    After all, WE live in AMERICA!

     

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