Federal Judge Finds Texas Voter ID Law Discriminates Against Minority Voters

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A judge ruled Monday for the second time that Texas purposefully passed voter ID laws to discriminate against minorities.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by passing Senate Bill 14, the voter ID law, reports The New York Times.

Ramos wrote in the 10-page ruling that Texas “has not met its burden” in showing that their strict photo ID laws did not disproportionately discriminate against blacks and Latinos.

This is the second time Ramos has ruled on the Texas voter ID law. She found the state guilty of discriminating in 2014, but the state appealed for further review.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sent the case back to Ramos to review last July. The court said Ramos’ conclusions were “infirm” and argued that she based her decision too heavily on the state’s past discrimination.

Ramos reached the same ruling she made in 2014. She based it on Texas’ alleged history of discrimination, Republicans’ attempt to speed the bill through the legislature, and the law’s “unduly strict terms.”

“The Court holds that the evidence found ‘infirm’ did not tip the scales,” Ramos said. She argued those suing the state had better evidence that “established a discriminatory purpose was at least one of the substantial or motivating factors behind passage of SB 14.”

The ruling could force Texas’ election procedures to fall under federal oversight again. Marc Rylander, the spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said the office would be seeking another review of the ruling.

“We’re disappointed and will seek review of this ruling at the appropriate time,” Rylander said in a statement.

The groups who sued the laws celebrated the ruling.

“What the courts have found and what the evidence compelled was the belief that it wasn’t a solution in search of a problem,” Chad Dunn, an attorney for the plaintiffs, explained to KUT. “It was a solution in pursuit of a political and discriminatory end.”

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