This is no surprise. But it could have been avoided:
The Justice Department’s civil rights division on Monday objected to a new photo ID requirement for voters in Texas because many Hispanic voters lack state-issued identification.
In regard to Texas, “I cannot conclude that the state has sustained its burden” of showing that the newly enacted law has neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect, Thomas E. Perez, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a letter to the Texas secretary of state.
The Holder DoJ is demanding that Texas prove a negative.
The Tatler saw this coming a year ago, and warned Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott of this very outcome at the time.
Justice Department sources report to Tatler that DOJ lawyers are flabbergasted at the ineptitude of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on a variety of election related issues. The latest example is yesterday’s Fort Worth Star Telegram story about voter ID. In it, Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean says Abbott will defend Voter ID, but only after DOJ objects to the law. The Star Telegram says:
“The Department of Justice’s decision to deny pre-clearance to South Carolina’s Voter ID law is inconsistent with its own previous decisions and flies in the face of U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” Bean said.
The DOJ sources report that Texas seems unaware that the Georgia preclearance was conducted using an old legal standard, no longer in effect. A new standard was passed by Congress in 2006 and Texas’ misplaced reliance on the Georgia Voter ID approval by DOJ is making Texas seem out of touch with the environment they face. They also say there is nothing in Supreme Court rules that are inconsistent with the South Carolina objection, and Texas doesn’t seem to understand that.
AG Abbott could have avoided the DoJ by taking the voter ID law, which is supported by nearly 7 in 10 Texans across all backgrounds, straight to federal court. Now the Lone Star State will have to defend its law before a hostile Justice Department that answers to a president desperate to shore up his numbers among Hispanic voters.
Texas’ voter ID law was passed in the 2011 legislative session, after failing in previous sessions due to Democrats’ efforts to pull out all the stops to block the bill. Democrats brought the 2009 session to a contentious halt over voter ID, and only the massive Republican numbers after their historic win in 2010 allowed the bill to get to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk to be signed into law.
AG Abbott, a probable front runner for governor in Texas should Gov. Perry decide not to seek re-election in 2014, could be hurt by this turn among the state’s grassroots Republicans.