dglobalnews.com White House drops Obama-era discrimination claim against Texas voter ID law
Published: Wed, March 01, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

White House drops Obama-era discrimination claim against Texas voter ID law

However, the judge denied that request and the hearing on whether the law was passed with discriminatory intent is still scheduled for Tuesday in federal district court in Corpus Christi.

Opponents of the law vowed to continue pressing Ramos to rule that Texas Republicans enacted the law in 2011 to impede voters, particularly racial and ethnic minorities who typically support Democrats.

The Trump administration plans to abandon the federal government's longstanding opposition to a key portion of Texas' toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said Monday.

In 2014, a judge ruled that the law disproportionately affected black and Hispanic Americans, and in 2015 and a year ago appeals court judges largely affirmed her ruling. These voter ID laws are simply wrong and the fundamental right to vote must always be protected. "At this point we intend to continue to press that case", Dunn said.

A soon-to-be-filed Justice Department motion "seeks to dismiss the discriminatory objective claim, but not the discriminatory effect claim", Mark Abueg, a department spokesman, confirmed to the Texas Tribune.

"This Court concludes that the evidence in the record demonstrates that proponents of SB 14 within the 82nd Texas Legislature were motivated, at the very least in part, because of and not merely in spite of the voter ID law's detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate".

Known as SB 14, the measure requires voters to present a specific form of government-issued photo identification - such as a driver's license, military ID card, US passport or citizenship certificate - to be permitted to cast a ballot. She also ruled that the voter ID law was an unconstitutional poll tax prohibited by the Twenty-Fourth Amendment because the law provided for a fee for issuing copies of birth certificates or other information needed to obtain an acceptable ID.

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More than 600,000 Texans - mostly minorities - lack the photo identification required by the law, the federal appeals court found in 2016.

Then last week, the Justice Department joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in asking the court to delay the case until June to allow the state legislature to revise the law.

The Trump administration's motion to drop the discrimination claim was a sharp change under Sessions, who took charge of the Justice Department 2½ weeks ago.

"Mr Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters", she wrote.

Texas asked the supreme court to review that decision, but in January the justices declined to do so - leaving a window to return to the case later. The law requires voters to present a limited array of government-issued photo IDs when voting in person - which include a Texas driver's license, a Texas handgun license or a military identification card, but not federal or state government identification card or student ID.

On Tuesday, the district court will hear arguments on that particular question.

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