As announced Monday, the Justice Department is abandoning its years-long involvement in a legal challenge involving Texas’ tough voter ID laws.
“The federal government will no longer be part of a long running court case in opposition to a Texas Voter ID law,” reports Western Journalism.
The DOJ’s motion to dismiss its claim in the case came just one day before a hearing aimed to decide whether state lawmakers acted with a discriminatory intent when they penned the voter law.
Danielle Lang of the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), who has been fighting against the law, says the DOJ’s decision is a “complete 180” when compared to the support she received during Obama’s presidency.
“We can’t make heads or tails of any factual reason for the change,” she complained. “There has been no new evidence that’s come to light… This signals to voters that they will not be protected under this administration.”
CLC’s Gerry Hebert blames newly appointed AG Jeff Sessions. “The facts are the facts… the only thing that changed as a matter of fact is who sits in the Office of Attorney General.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein says the DOJ’s decision “does not bode well for this administration’s approach to voting rights. During AG Sessions’ confirmation process, I repeatedly expressed my concern about his hostility toward federal efforts to protect voting rights.”
Voter ID laws are a contentious issue in that they supposedly suppress minority voters. According to Texas law, voters must show one of seven forms of identification.
The Justice Department joined with voting rights activists when they sued in 2013 – insisting that over 600,000 Texans would have difficulty voting because they lacked any of the law’s specified IDs.
“The picking and choosing of what IDs count was entirely discriminatory and would fall more harshly on minority voters,” argues Lang. For a new administration to drop these claims is “outrageous.”
The state’s Republican Governor has a different opinion.
“It’s a new day in DC,” announced Greg Abbott on Twitter. “Texas deserves Voter ID just like other states already have & SCOTUS has approved.”
The Dems may be complaining about “voter suppression,” but giving citizens a choice of 7 forms of photo ID seems lenient to me. Not to mention we’re talking about a state struggling with illegal immiration in a time when voter fraud is common.
“Texans are one step closer to having a common-sense voter protection that has been demanded for years,” says Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “Since the Obama Administration’s initial filing, the federal government’s position has only grown weaker…”