by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A federal court of appeals voted 2-1 on Tuesday to stay a lower judge’s ruling preventing Texas from implementing a revised version of its voter ID law.
In August, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that Senate Bill 5 was designed to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters. The bill was originally passed to address concerns and a court ruling that Texas’ previous measure, Senate Bill 14, was not flexible enough and was also racially discriminatory because voters were required to show one of seven forms of government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
“The State has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits. SB 5 allows voters without qualifying photo ID to cast regular ballots by executing a declaration that they face a reasonable impediment to obtaining qualifying photo ID. This declaration is made under the penalty of perjury,” Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Elrod of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a joint order, Politico reported. “The State has made a strong showing that this reasonable-impediment procedure remedies plaintiffs’ alleged harm and thus forecloses plaintiffs’ injunctive relief.”
The judges said Ramos did not identify whether the problems from SB 14 were corrected in SB 5, like the 5th Circuit had instructed in a previous court ruling. As a result, Smith and Elrod said Ramos went beyond the scope of what she was originally requested to do.