Texas Voters Urge Fifth Circuit to Uphold Ruling Striking Down Texas Voter Photo ID Law

Date
Issues

Today in Veasey v. Abbott, attorneys at the Campaign Legal Center, who serve as co-counsel for plaintiffs Congressman Marc Veasey, LULAC, and a group of Texas voters, filed a brief urging the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a District Court ruling striking down Texas’ voter photo ID law (SB 14), the most restrictive and burdensome voter ID law in the nation.

Following a two-week trial last fall, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos enjoined SB 14, finding that it was as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote as well as an unconstitutional poll tax, had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  The state defendants immediately appealed Judge Ramos’ decision. In mid-October, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that decision solely to avoid confusion in the November 2014 elections, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently refused to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay.  

“Evidence proved at trial that hundreds of thousands of Texans were stripped of their right to vote by this discriminatory law,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of The Campaign Legal Center.  “The District Court’s decision carefully weighed all the evidence in finding the Texas photo ID law unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act and we hope the Circuit Court will uphold that ruling and restore the franchise to those stripped of this fundamental right.  Ostensibly passed by the Texas Legislature to combat the virtually nonexistent problem of in-person voter fraud, the law was intended to have a harmful effect on minority voters because of the way they were likely to cast their ballots.”

The first challenge (Veasey v. Perry) to the Texas photo ID law was filed by the Campaign Legal Center and others 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 additional challenges were then brought against the Texas law (including one by the United States).  All of the cases were consolidated in the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi.

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), and Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. (LULAC).

 

To read the Legal Center’s brief, click here.

To read the District Court decision striking down the Voter ID law, click here.