In a 147-page ruling [PDF] released Thursday evening, "after hearing and carefully considering all the evidence" presented in the trial which ended on September 22nd, a U.S. District Court in Texas has found that the state's polling place Photo ID law, SB 14, is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Constitution in at least four different ways.
"The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos writes in her ruling. "The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."
The ruling that now permanently enjoins the Texas law, again, follows a long string of federal rulings striking down Photo ID voting restrictions in the state under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. In 2012, both the Dept. of Justice and a three-judge panel of federal judges found the law to be discriminatory under the Act, and that, based on data supplied by the state themselves, it would serve to disproportionately disenfranchise both poor and minority voters.
The very same law was once again implemented, however, by Lone Star State Republicans just after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the VRA last year. The current challenge to the law was brought under Section 2 of the Act, as well as the U.S. Constitution itself. Judge Gonzales Ramos found that the discrimination found by previous bodies was plainly still present in the law...