SCOTUS to Texas: Go Forth and Discriminate Against Your Citizens Starting Monday
Liz Kennedy, originally writing at Demos, republished at Moyers & Company.
The Supreme Court said Saturday that, for the first time, it is allowing a voting law to be used for an election even though a federal judge, after conducting a trial, found the law is racially discriminatory in both its intent and its impact, and is an unconstitutional poll tax. It is not only not a good look for the court, it is an abdication of the federal responsibility to protect every American voter from racially discriminatory voter suppression.
These continuing voter restrictions are the worst attack on Americans’ voting rights since Reconstruction led to the Jim Crow era. We are in the middle of the storm that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described in her Shelby County dissent. Studies show that recent restrictions on voting were more likely to be introduced and adopted in places that saw increased political participation from lower-income people and people of color.
Voting in Texas starts Monday, and the new law only allows seven forms of acceptable identification, including a gun permit or a military ID but not a student ID from a state institution. The federal district court found that African-American registered voters are 305 percent, and Hispanic registered voters 195 percent, less likely to have one of these seven forms of ID. In the words of Attorney General Holder, these voter ID restrictions are “inconsistent with our ideals as a nation… founded on the principle that all citizens are entitled to equal opportunity, equal representation and equal rights.”