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Voter ID Update: District Court Judge Smacks Down Paxton and Abbott Again
Yesterday Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos set a briefing schedule to determine whether Texas state lawmakers passed SB 14, Texas’ Voter ID law, with a discriminatory intent.
In addition to laying out a clear and reasonable schedule for the parties, Judge Ramos also rejected an attempt by Ken Paxton and Greg Abbott to postpone action on the question of discriminatory intent based on public statements that Texas will appeal the 5thCircuit decision to the Supreme Court.
In response to Judge Ramos' order, Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle made the following statement:
“Yesterday a federal district judge smacked down Ken Paxton and Greg Abbott because they again failed to show basic good faith when ordered to follow the law. Paxton and Abbott refuse to face the fact that the Texas voter ID law is discriminatory. Now that they’re being forced to answer charges that the discrimination is intentional, they are playing a stall and hide game. Paxton and Abbott are hoping that Texans won’t notice or care that they’ve already wasted millions of tax dollars in court covering their political backsides instead of fixing a broken, unfair, and illegal voting system.”
Currently, Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos is preparing to rule on whether the Texas voter ID law is not just discriminatory in its effect, but whether Texas Republican leaders intended to discriminate against Texans when they enacted the law. Yesterday, Judge Ramos rejected a motion filed by Texas AG Ken Paxton on behalf of Greg Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders to delay hearing evidence on discriminatory intent until far into next year. The motion by Paxton and GOP leaders to delay and deny justice goes beyond legal maneuvering and amounts to crass political gamesmanship. Judge Ramos made clear she is not going to be ignored or manipulated saying, “Until Defendants take their appeal and until this Court is divested of jurisdiction to proceed, the Court has a duty to the parties to proceed with the adjudication of this case without unnecessary delay.”
More than two weeks ago, after the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals confirmed that the Texas Voter ID law is illegally discriminatory, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other State leaders were ordered by Judge Ramos to inform eligible Texans of their options to vote in the 2016 General Election if they do not have the type of photo ID required under the old, illegal Texas voter ID law. Instead of working responsibly to follow the court order, Paxton defiantly boasted that he would appeal the court’s ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States. Paxton has yet to follow through on his appeal threat, but he has joined local Republican election officials and the Texas Secretary of State in issuing threatening and misleading statements and voting instructions.