Plaintiffs Seek Expedited Appeal in Texas Voter ID Case to Restore Right to Vote for Hundreds of Thousands in 2015 Elections

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Issues

Today, attorneys at the Campaign Legal Center, who serve as co-counsel for plaintiffs Congressman Marc Veasey and LULAC, filed a motion to expedite a pending appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Veasey v. Perry—the challenge to Texas’ overly restrictive photo ID law (SB 14). 

“This motion to expedite the appeal seeks to minimize the damage that SB 14 continues to cause,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of The Campaign Legal Center.  “Despite successfully overturning the law, eligible Texas voters already lost one election to disenfranchisement and they should not lose another.  Unless the Fifth Circuit acts quickly, hundreds of thousands of validly registered Texas voters will be forced again to pay a poll tax and abide by an intentionally discriminatory law if they want to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming 2015 elections.”

The Veasey-LULAC plaintiffs’ motion to expedite the appeal noted that the next Texas elections are scheduled for May 2015.  The motion asked the court of appeals to resolve this appeal as promptly as possible in order to ensure that a constitutional system of voter identification is implemented for upcoming elections.  The motion further urged the court of appeals to hold oral argument at the earliest possible date following completion of briefing, and offered to abbreviate the briefing schedule if doing so would help the court of appeals expedite the appeal. 

The first challenge to the Texas photo ID law was filed by the Campaign Legal Center in the summer of 2013 claiming that SB 14 violates the 1st, 14th, 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  Several challenges (including one brought by the United States) were then brought against the Texas law, which is one of the most restrictive laws in the nation.  All of the cases were consolidated in the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi. Following a two-week trial earlier this fall, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos enjoined SB 14 as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, finding that it had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  Further, Judge Ramos held that the law constituted an “unconstitutional poll tax.”  The defendants, including the state of Texas, immediately appealed Judge Ramos’ decision. In mid-October, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that decision and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently refused to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay, thus permitting Texas to impose the unconstitutional voter photo ID law in the recent November 2014 general election. 

The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing the Veasey-LULAC plaintiffs that includes Chad Dunn and K. Scott Brazil (Brazil & Dunn), Neil G. Baron, David Richards (Richards, Rodriguez & Skeith), Armand Derfner (Derfner, Altman & Wilborn), Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. (LULAC) and Craig M. Wilkins and Teresa G. Snelson (Dallas County District Attorney’s Office).

To read the motion to expedite, click here