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Trump Administration Loses Again in Court — This Time on Voter ID

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Trump Administration Loses Again in Court — This Time on Voter ID

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Reprinted by permission from ProPublica.

A federal court in Texas has again ruled the state’s 2011 voter identification law intentionally discriminated against minorities. It’s the latest loss in the case for Texas 2014 which has spent years unsuccessfully defending the law. But it also has implications for the Trump administration.

In February, the new administration abruptly abandoned the crux of the Justice Department’s opposition to the voter ID law. Government lawyers also asked the judge to delay her decision on whether the law intentionally discriminated against blacks and Latinos.

Judge Nelva Ramos Gonzales rejected their request for a delay. And Monday, she ruled that the law “was passed, at least in part, with a discriminatory intent in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

When it passed in 2011, Texas’s law had the country’s strictest voter ID provisions. It required one of seven forms of Texas or federally issued IDs to vote and allowed exemptions only for disability or age. It allowed no exception for low income voters.

Civil rights groups have long argued that the law was meant to disenfranchise minority voters, who often lack the ID required. The Obama administration and other plaintiffs brought suit against the bill in 2013. They won in 2014, but Texas appealed. In 2016, a federal appeals court agreed the law had a discriminatory impact, but asked Judge Ramos to reconsider whether legislators had intended for that to be the case.

Last August, Ramos signed off on a compromise to temporarily fix the law ahead of the November election. Voters could sign an affidavit explaining why they didn’t have ID, and then show an alternate form of non-photo ID to cast their ballots. Legislation that essentially locks that compromise in place is now being considered.

Proponents of voter ID argued that the case for intentional discrimination was no longer valid because of the new bill. Lawyers for the Trump Department of Justice echoed that perspective and urged Ramos to delay her decision until the new bill could work its way through the Legislature.

“Regardless of what the record was at the time, the record is clearly evolving,” John Gore, the new deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil rights divisionFEFF, told Ramos in a Feb. 28 hearing in Corpus Christi, Texas, which ProPublica attended.

Gore said empathically that the new legislation created “a new legislative mosaic.” He added: “It paints a new picture of Texas’ intent with regard to voter ID.”

Over the course of Gore’s arguments, which lasted only a few minutes, Ramos repeatedly asked him to explain how a bill proposed in 2017 would impact how she should rule on whether a law passed six years prior had been intentionally discriminatory. Gore did not give a direct answer.

Ramos dismissed the government’s bid for delay last week, saying she would rule on whether the law was intentionally discriminatory “in due course.” In her ruling issued yesterday, the judge wrote that Texas’ passage and defense of the law “revealed a pattern of conduct unexplainable on non-racial grounds, to suppress minority voting.”

While the state claimed the law was necessary to combat in-person voter fraud, Ramos noted that there is little evidence of such fraud.

The DOJ declined comment on the decision. Texas is likely to appeal the ruling.

Ramos has scheduled a hearing for June to decide on a remedy for the law, which could include putting Texas back under federal voting rights oversight.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case in January, saying the case had not yet worked its way through the lower courts. But the justices will have an opportunity to consider it again. If they do, said Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine’s law school, “the newly reconstructed five conservative majority could well reverse on all claims.”

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26 Comments

  1. Gabriel Phillips April 12, 2017

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  3. PrecipitousDrop April 12, 2017

    Yes.
    Please, please, PLEASE let the Supreme Court hear this dumb case.
    Please require these people to try to prove — once and for all — that “in person voter fraud” is a problem of sufficient peril that certain disenfranchisement of roughly 750,000 Texas voters is necessary to “solve” it.

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker April 12, 2017

      BS. I vote in NJ without ID. My name is already on the voter rolls that are updated at the end of every election so the voter information is fresh for upcoming elections. Why is it only in the Republican states voter fraud is a big issue?

      And in TX? Where the men act like Johnny Yuma with the only law “a fist and a draw?” Please.

      The problem in TEXAS in NOT voter fraud so much as TX politicians playing games with voting district maps. How did TX have only 28 electors in the Electoral College in 2008 and by 2009 they “suddenly” had 34?

      I’ll tell you how. Every Republican state chops up the voting districts to increase the number of electors in the EC. They do this because the only way ANY Republican would ever win an election today is by increasing the number of electoral college electors in their states.

      TX has not had such a huge population growth since 2008 to warrant an increase in electors.

      VA and NC already ended up in the SC for trying to incorporate minority voting districts into solidly Republican districts by closing polling places in their heavily minority areas. That the only way the GOP can win an election? Rigging it?

      Reply
      1. Just A Citizen April 12, 2017

        Eleanore

        This question of yours reveals how little you seem to understand about what is reality in our Republic.

        “How did TX have only 28 electors in the Electoral College in 2008 and by 2009 they “suddenly” had 34?”

        Do you honestly think the number of electors, that is House Members, is determined by gerrymandering?

        Reply
        1. Eleanore Whitaker April 12, 2017

          That you don’t understand gerrymandering means I have to TEACH you the formal definition:

          Gerrymander: to manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

          Or, achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency.

          “a total freedom to gerrymander the results they want”

          Sorry but the Republicans are the ones who do ALL the gerrymandering and chopping up of voting districts. If you have a large population of minorities in Houston, i.e., who are a HUGE Democratic voting block, your TX cowboys did what Tom DeLay got his ass in trouble for: change the voting maps so they are smaller and reflect a higher percentage, by appearance ONLY of Republicans.

          Since I was a writer for the League of Women’s Voters as well as a member, I think I know politics better than you ever will. Here’s an example of what YOU do not know: “Eric McGhee concluded that gerrymandering produced about 7 extra Republican seats this year (2016) while Sam Wang figured it at about 6.3 seats.

          Ask yourself why it is ONLY the Republican states find gerrymandering so important to win an election. Is it because they can’t win unless they win using the Electoral College?

          Reply
          1. Just A Citizen April 12, 2017

            Eleanore

            The Dems were masters at Gerrymandering for years. Give me a break.

            You wrote a lot of words and did NOT address the question. How does gerrymandering affect the number of Representatives in the House or Senate in any particular State (or Texas since that was your example)? Because you know, that is what determines the Electoral College.

            Reply
          2. Eleanore Whitaker April 13, 2017

            Wrong. How did Bush win the 2000 election? Not by popular vote. Since he and Gore were so close in popular vote that the SC had to declare the winner. How did Bush win in 2004? Same thing. His brother Jeb’s state, with hanging chads. Those are all VOTES that were long in the making through gerrymandering.

            As a matter of fact, it was Texas who was last to bring Trump over the top. Why? Because Texas has 34 Electoral votes up from the former 28.

            I know more than you about the Electoral College. I know that first off, Legislators from the state appoint electors. That means in a Republican state, ONLY Republican Electors, doesn’t it?

            So, then in order to make sure there’s no hick “backsliding” by Electors, they increase the number of voting districts. This is what VA and NC both did and ended up before the SC because of it.

            The Dems have gerrymandered but not in the last 4 elections. Sorry you are wrong.

            Kissing Republican ass got you Trump. What next? President Putin?

            Reply
          3. Just A Citizen April 13, 2017

            Eleanore

            First of all you DO NOT know more than me about the Electoral College. Or even politics in general.

            Second, it was YOU that tried to link the increase in Texas’ electoral votes to to gerrymandering. Not me. Proving you know very little or are simply a dishonest debater.

            Electoral votes are determined by a complicated formula, created by Congress, which allocates seats based on each new census. Period.

            Gerrymandering can affect which party holds a seat but has no impact on the Electoral College because the EC is determined by the POPULAR vote in all states except two. Or maybe it is now three.

            And the fact that the R’s have benefited with their gerrymandering the past two census cycles does not mean the D’s have not done the same when they could. And it certainly does not make my statement wrong.
            They in fact do the same thing in the STATES which they control. So again, you display a serious lack of knowledge and claiming yourself an expert is just making you look silly.

            It is obvious you are a “partisan” as your glasses are fogged by your political leanings.

            Reply
          4. Eleanore Whitaker April 13, 2017

            Wrong again. My first employer, a Republican, was a SBA ombudswoman heavily involved in politics at the state and federal level. My 2nd employer became a Senator. Time for you to stop your superiority act. I’ve met and spoken with more politicians than you could in your wildest dreams. I know what gerrymandering is and I know your ability to kiss up to the GOP is more than obvious. Oh and by the way? I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly 3 decades. ooooooh doesn’t that burn your biscuit?

            Reply
          5. Just A Citizen April 13, 2017

            Eleanore

            Again with the 30 years of experience. Accountant, legal advisor, political operative, can’t remember the others. My oh my how busy you have been.

            Like I said, your political experience has nothing on me. And for the record, since you don’t seem to understand how argumentation works, you cannot declare my statement wrong when you have no proof against my experience.

            But I can say given your statement that you are no more experienced in how politics works than I am. Sorry if you can’t handle it.

            I see you still cannot admit you failed in your attempt to link gerrymandering to the number of electoral seats in any given state or in how the EC votes are allocated.

            Now why does your time as a free lance writer have anything to do with anything on this issue, and why for the life of me would it “burn my biscuit”? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

            Your lack of logical argument is enough for me.

            Reply
          6. InformedVoter April 14, 2017

            You’ve got Elle pegged correctly. She’s a total twit. She makes up her life histories with each new post. She has claimed 8 or 9 different careers and she regularly displays a total lack of knowledge about the subject she posts on.
            It’s obvious she has no understanding how the EC is formed.
            Keep up the good work!

            Reply
          7. Eleanore Whitaker April 14, 2017

            No one pegs me asslicker. I don’t make anything up. I provide who I am and you can find my photo on the backs of both published books. You can also find my short story blog. You can’t write your own name without a quart bottle of Jack Daniels. You are just jealous and can’t stand that someone is more successful than you will EVER be.

            By the way, since I was also a writer for League of Women Voters as I posted, asseater, that means I not only KNOW more about politics and goverment than you Ruskie comrades ever will, I also take part in my government. You? YOu live on welfare in a two story flop house in some hick state.

            You NEVER post your employment because YOU HAVE NEVER HAD any. Welfare checks keep you in food and a flop house room.

            Reply
          8. InformedVoter April 14, 2017

            Silly Elle, you were nothing more than a copy boy for some low level clerk and you know it.
            You certainly have no idea how the EC is formed and that’s pretty obvious. Your drivel and lies about Texas and gerrymandering is nothing but pure nonsense!
            You got your FAKE logic chewed up by Just A Citizen and all can see that.
            I’ve posted my employment record many times and you’re just pissed because even you fabricated resume is meager and full of holes.
            Just A Citizen did as I have done numerous times, we called you out on your fake resume and all you do is respond with typical low information, low level employment record responses.

            Reply
          9. Eleanore Whitaker April 14, 2017

            Yep. I started my first business at age 21. I taught dance for 12 years at Rutgers part-time. I closed my two dance studios because my ex half owned it and never danced a step in his life. I decided not to be an extra source of income for him.

            Then, I went to work for the most wonderful woman, Elizabeth T. Lyons, former ombudswoman to the SBA, president of NJAWBO, first female president of the NJ March of Dimes, board member on several corporate boards. Gov. Kean gave her a special job in Trenton. That’s when she got me the job at ADP. It was created FOR ME because she had “contacts.” Eat your heart out. By that time I was 33 years old.

            After that, I took a job with the General Manager of the thermoplastics Division of Akzo Chemical in 1985. I saw the opportunity for a job as an assistant VP to the VP of Sales and Marketing at CPS Chemical. Jealous yet shitface?

            The last of the ONLY 4 jobs I had in corporate was with an environmental engineering company that lasted for 24 years and 10 months before Boy Genius screwed up and had to close it.

            Now, when you work as an “insider” to CEOs, VPs, GMs and corporate presidents 5 days a week, you get to interface with their legal department because you always need to make sure what you put into accounting reports will pass muster with the IRS and in the case of ADP, SEC. By the time I worked with engineering, you were still pissing in your Pampers. Jealous that you hicks have NO opportunities? Your own fault. You settle for Walmartian jobs.

            In my work history, I’ve worked with 4 PhDs, 2 at Akzo in Chemisty, 1 at the parent company, a lab that bought out our company and the MIT PhD in our engineering division.

            I have been president 2 times to the Lions Club, president of our local museum and historical society, have sat on the environmental commission and also the arts commission.

            You want more asslicker? In 2010, my first suspense novel was published. The second was published in 2011. Since 2008, given my past experience as an accounting manager/tech writer, I was able to parlay that into SEO copywriting and have to date written over 6000 articles for technical white papers, blogs and businesses. All while you sit on your lard ass wishing you were as successful.

            Try again moron. I’ve met more Senators, Congress men and women in my past experience than you ever will.

            I don’t let dust settle under my bony ass like you do on that lard ass of yours. Eat your heart out jealous moron.

            Reply
          10. Just A Citizen April 14, 2017

            EW

            Yes, such a lady you are. Nice resume’. And I am not jealous in the least.

            To bad it has nothing to do with the fact that you were WRONG in trying to link gerrymandering to the increase in congressional seats in Texas. That you were WRONG in trying to claim gerrymandering had anything to do with Bush II winning, or any President for that matter. And you were WRONG trying to link it to the “chad fiasco” in Florida.

            You see Eleanore, waiving your pedigree around doesn’t override your erroneous comments. They stand on their own. Every time I or someone else points out one of your errors you resort to claiming some “years” of experience doing X or Y. That is the Logical Fallacy of “Appeal to Authority”. Although that fallacy usually utilizes the authority of some other person, not the one making the argument. Which indicates a potential psychological issue, but that is between you and your shrink. Not for me to judge over the internet.

            Unlike you who has once again reduced your argument to name calling and stereotypes of others, all displaying the bigotry that lives in your head.

            Reply
          11. Eleanore Whitaker April 15, 2017

            If you want one of those cutesy lil Dixiebelles or Corn Pone Queens who sing Stand by Your Man, you won’t find any here in the northeast. Bites your right in your dickhead doesn’t it?

            Here in the Metro area, women don’t kiss any man’s ass like your sweet Lil Old cowgirls whose only jobs are as Penis Worshipping Walmartians.

            There is a single Dixiebelle or Corn Pone Queen who manage a single work week in my region of the country. In fact, your own TX moron Tillerson had dinner in Manhattan and couldn’t handle the fast and accurate pace. Must be a slow ass is like molasses right?

            And you can dismiss all you like. I don’t fall for your BS or your superiority act. So you waste your time. Google my name and you will be pissgreen with envy.

            Reply
          12. Just A Citizen April 15, 2017

            Forget your meds this morning? You need to seek professional help.

            Reply
          13. Eleanore Whitaker April 15, 2017

            Sorry asshat. I don’t need “meds.” Don’t you hicks think it’s time to stop with the same old BS mantras you’ve been clinging to for hope that you can appear superior:
            “meds”
            “kool aid”
            “Obummer”
            “Killary”

            Grow the hell up. If you are doing an impression of a Russian fine. Those of us who are fighters will rid this country of traitors like you and your Ruskie loving BS president.

            It is MY country. I pay my taxes. You Walmartians don’t even earn enough to live without welfare. Maybe you need to get a job up north so you hicks will actually work your asses off.

            I fight for MY country. You? You fight to tear it down. Who really needs the meds?

            Reply
          14. Just A Citizen April 15, 2017

            ROTFLMAO……….. I see your a comic as well.

            Reply
          15. kep April 15, 2017

            What happened to those years teaching? Guess not the right thread to try to impress some fool liberal that actually believes your fabrications and outright lies. Get HELP.

            Reply
          16. InformedVoter April 14, 2017

            Sorry Elle, but you proved that you really don’t understand how the EC is constructed. I also noticed that you posted a new life history. Now you’re at 8 or 9 different life histories. You make stuff up to make folks think you are informed, but you’re a joke.
            Just A Citizen exposed your total lack of knowledge and you’re pissed because you’ve been made to look like a fool – again. What a surprise.

            Reply
      2. InformedVoter April 14, 2017

        Wrong again Elle, So your name on the voter rolls still means you should have to show ID to prove you are the person requesting the ballot. If NJ does not require that ID, then they are ripe for voter fraud.
        In Michigan, in 2016, in Detroit alone, there were thousands (yes thousands) of illegal votes given to HilLIARy. The failed recount exposed this! And the Detroit officials admitted they’ve been using the illegal tricks for many elections.
        You need an ID to perform many functions. Using for voting should be included. The Texas voter ID law will resurface and this time it will pass muster, even if this “so called judge” rejects it. It’ll end up like the 9th court, that gets overturned 90% of the time. Look for the 9th court to get zapped for being incorrect so often.

        Reply
    2. jimmy midnight April 12, 2017

      Now that Gorsuch is on SCOTUS, they’d likely hear this case, and quite possibly rule in favor of Texas.

      The f*** is disenfranchisement 2 the likes of them?

      Reply
    3. 788eddie April 19, 2017

      Voter fraud does not significantly exist, except in the minds of conservatives and racists.

      The Georgia GOP proved that in the 2012 election season when they offered a one thousand dollar bounty to anyone who could document voter fraud in their state. They received six possibilities almost immediately. After investigation, the six was reduced to four, and then to none.

      The Georgia GOP dropped the program the following month.

      Reply
      1. PrecipitousDrop April 19, 2017

        Alabama GOP made the same offer in 2013 to “prove” the need for their new voter ID law. So did New Hampshire after the White House Advisor Stephen Miller accused Massachusetts of bussing in “extra” voters to throw the re-election of Kelly Ayotte.
        Georgia, Alabama, and New Hampshire still have their money.

        Reply

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