- ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley’s former home hits market for $65M
- Florida beach-goers told to beware flesh-eating bacteria in water
- Lundergan Grimes uses ‘war on women’ strategy to attack McConnell
- Rep. Jeff Miller: ‘Ain’t no leash for VA’
- Al Qaeda nets $125M from ransom payoffs from Europe since 2008
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich cruising to re-election: survey
- Landslide hits Indian village; 150 may be trapped
- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
Texas’ legal challenge goes beyond voter-ID law
State looks to overturn provision of 1965 act
Question of the Day
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas on Wednesday asked a federal panel weighing its photo-ID requirement for voters to let the state challenge directly the constitutionality of a part of the Voting Rights Act that has required mostly Southern jurisdictions to get Washington to sign off on election changes.
In a filing to a three-judge panel in Washington, Texas asked to submit a petition charging that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act “exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.”
As a state that had a history of voter discrimination when the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, since reauthorized in 2006, Texas is required under that section of the law to get advance approval of voting changes from either the Justice Department or the U.S. District Court in Washington.
On Monday, the Justice Department declared that Texas’ photo ID rule could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Hispanics - its latest move against Republican-led voting changes that Democrats say would discourage voting by groups that support them.
The Justice Department’s objection sent the case to the federal panel that is now deciding whether Texas, as well as South Carolina, can enforce new voter photo-ID requirements. It also has resulted in the Texas law being blocked until the court rules.
Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Texas also had to win pre-clearance for the new congressional and state legislative districts drawn by its state Legislature. Those proposed maps, which as usual benefit the party in power (in Texas, the Republicans), have themselves touched off a legal battle now in the hands of the same three-judge federal panel in Washington that is mulling the voter-ID law.
Meanwhile, the Texas primary has been delayed and now likely won’t take place until May 29.
With its filing, Texas is seeking permission to make a larger argument on the merits of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act itself. If the provision were overturned, Texas could make changes to its voting rules without federal approval.
Such an argument is important because the federal panel’s decision can be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could potentially rule to overturn the provision entirely.
Alabama’s Shelby County is already challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but that case was argued in January in the federal appeals court system and a decision has yet to be reached in the matter.
Texas could potentially avoid the appeals courts by making its argument as part of its voter-ID case, then having any appeals continue to the Supreme Court.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women's fitness tests
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world