Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a 1965 Voting Rights Act provision that hamstrung Texas and 14 other states, the Texas attorney general announced he will re-establish its voter ID law
The provision voided by the court had required jurisdictions with a history of voter suppression to obtain approval from the Justice Department prior to changing their voter laws, according to The Daily Caller.
Noting that times have changed in the almost 50 years since the landmark voting legislation was enacted, the court took a common-sense approach and threw the measure back into Congress’ lap.
“With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government,” Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement.
The Justice Department struck down a state voter ID law Texas had enacted in early 2012, claiming it would disproportionately and adversely affect Hispanic voters, a decision Texas Gov. Rick Perry referred to as “pervasive government overreach.”
“The DOJ has no valid reason for rejecting this important law, which requires nothing more extensive than the type of photo identification necessary to receive a library card or board an airplane,” Perry said at that time.
Abbott complimented the court for removing the restrictions that had put the affected 15 states in a class distinct from the other 35 for nearly five decades.
“The U.S. Constitution establishes one United States — not a divided nation with different laws applying to different states. Laws that apply unequally to just some states have no place in our nation,” his statement read. “Today’s ruling ensures that Texas is no longer on of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect.”
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was designed to prevent not only voter suppression, but gerrymandering used to favor a particular political party or ethnic group.
If the Obama administration is truly concerned about gerrymandering, it should take a look at the president’s own state. The Fourth Congressional District of Illinois is one of the most heavily gerrymandered districts in the United States.
The Texas voter ID law wasn’t available during the 2012 election. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it’ll be dusted off and ready to go for next year’s midterms, though.
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