Texas Uses Voter ID Case To Launch Assault On Voting Rights Act

March 15, 2012 7:21 am

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s lawsuit against the federal government over the rejections of their voter ID law to include a direct strike at the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.

Abbott argues in the amended complaint that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, amended by Congress in 2006, “exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.”

“For the Department of Justice to now contend that Texas cannot implement its voter ID law denies Texas the ability to do what other states can rightfully exercise under the Constitution,” Abbott said in a statement.While several courts have dealt with challenges to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — which forces certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have their election laws precleared by either the federal government or in a D.C. court — Texas’ challenge is the most prominent. Law professor Rick Hasen thinks there’s at least a chance the Supreme Court could hear the case before the November election.

“It is really late in the SCOTUS term. So maybe this does not make it to SCOTUS before adjournment in June. But if Texas wants to use its voter id law in November, the Court could well take it up even in September, before the usual October start of the Court term,” Hasen writes.

Image from Vepar5 / Shutterstock

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