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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Texas Voter ID Case

Jeff Kubina/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court is denying the State of Texas' appeal in case over the state's voter ID law.

The law required voters to show one of several approved forms of photo ID before they could vote. Lower courts had ruled the law, passed in 2011, had a discriminatory effect on minority voters. A judge ordered changes in the law for the 2016 election, including the option to sign a form saying you had a "reasonable impediment" to obtaining a photo ID and still being able to vote.

It may not be the end of the line for an appeal, though. In his remarks explaining the Supreme Court's decision not to take up the case, Chief Justice John Roberts said "the District Court has yet to enter a final remedial order. Petitioners may raise either or both issues again after entry of final judgment. The issues will be better suited for certiorari review at that time."

A judge in a Corpus Christi district court is still weighing a final verdict and permanent changes in voting procedures. That court will ultimately decide if the law was intentionally discriminatory. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton defended the state’s law in a statement and said he was disappointed the case was kicked back to the lower court.

While we are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court did not immediately take our case, Chief Justice Roberts made it very clear that the case will be an even stronger posture for Supreme Court review after further proceedings in lower courts. Texas enacted a common sense voter ID law to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and we will continue to fight for the law in the district court, the Fifth Circuit, and if necessary, the Supreme Court again.

Danielle Lang, deputy director of voting rights at the Campaign Legal Center, said she didn’t believe the case merited another review from the Supreme Court and that, she thinks, the district court could rule the law was intentionally discriminatory.

“The Supreme Court made the right decision and we’re moving forward at the district court level,” Lang told KUT. “And we have every confidence that the district court will once again recognize what we think is obvious, which is that this law was put in place to make it harder for minority voters to access the polls.”

You can read Roberts' remarks in the document below, starting on page seven. 

This post has been updated.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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