For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has sided with plaintiffs in Texas, led by U.S. Congressman Marc Veasey (TX CD33 – Dallas/Fort Worth), who oppose SB 14, the Texas voter ID law. The DOJ has forcefully argued that Texas Republican leaders knowingly and intentionally discriminated against minority Texans when passing the Texas voter ID law in 2011. Just last November, the DOJ stated in a legal brief:
“This discriminatory impact was not merely an unintended consequence of SB 14…It was, in part, SB 14’s purpose. Compelling evidence establishes that Texas enacted SB 14 at least in part because of its detrimental effects on African-American and Hispanic voters.”
No new evidence has been presented to justify a change by the DOJ. However, new Trump Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has a long history of statements and actions hostile to African American and other minority citizens. By reversing its position on discriminatory intent in the Texas case, the Trump DOJ is now fully aligned with Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott and other Texas GOP leaders who have consistently undermined eligible Hispanic and African American Texas voters by adopting discriminatory voting and redistricting laws.
It is important to note that the motion filed by the DOJ withdraws only their claims that the law is intentionally discriminatory. They have not withdrawn their claims that the law has a discriminatory effect on Texas minority voters.
The Texas voter ID law has been ruled discriminatory after four separate reviews in federal court. Even the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals – which is considered the most conservative federal court in the country – has ruled against the Texas law.
Federal District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos who retains jurisdiction in the case will convene a hearing in Corpus Christi to hear further arguments on the discriminatory Texas voter ID law.
Statement by Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle:
“It is clearer than ever that the Trump administration will not stand up to intentional efforts to violate basic voting rights in our nation.
“Donald Trump, Greg Abbott and Texas Republican leaders line up as a hostile force against Hispanic, African American, and all fair-minded Texans who believe in fair and just elections.
“Trump and Abbott may think that condoning intentional attacks on voting rights and promoting discrimination rigs elections in their favor. They are wrong. Trump and Abbott have offended Texans across the political spectrum and have given every Texan even more reason to vote their values in upcoming elections and reject current leaders in Washington and in Austin.”