5th Circuit’s Full Panel Must Strike Down Texas’ Voter ID Law, the Campaign Legal Center Argues

May 10, 2016
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Brief filed in advance of full panel oral arguments on May 24 

WASHINGTON – Texas’ voter ID law, SB 14, is the strictest voter ID law in the country, discriminates against minority voters, and disenfranchises an estimated 600,000 registered Texas voters, the Campaign Legal Center argues in a brief filed Monday in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 5th Circuit’s full panel of judges will hear oral arguments in the case, Veasey v. Abbott, on May 24.

CLC attorneys represent plaintiffs Congressman Marc Veasey, LULAC and a group of Texas voters in the case. View this video to learn about the Texas voters harmed by Texas SB 14.

 “We have repeatedly proven – using hard facts – that the Texas legislators who passed this law intended to discriminate against racial and language minorities,” said Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center.  “Seven of seven federal judges have found that Texas’ voter ID law discriminates against minority voters and would disenfranchise more than half a million registered voters.”

In 2012, the D.C. District Court held that Texas’ voter ID law would have a discriminatory effect on minorities and blocked the law under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. After the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, Texas began to enforce the law.

Following a two-week trial in 2014, a federal court again found Texas’ voter ID law to be discriminatory in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit agreed, ruling that the law discriminates against minority voters. Despite these rulings, the law is still in effect due to the 5th Circuit’s stay of the district court’s decision in 2014. In March, the 5th Circuit decided to rehear the case, to be ruled on by the full court.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently indicated that if the 5th Circuit fails to decide this case by July 20, the high court would consider taking action, on a request from Texas voters, to protect Texas voters in time for the 2016 presidential election.

“Texas’ voter ID bill is the harshest in the nation and undeniably harms Texas voters,” said Danielle Lang, legal fellow with the Campaign Legal Center. “The full 5th Circuit should uphold the detailed findings of fact that the trial court found so that Texas voters can get relief for this fall’s presidential election.” 

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