Texas: All Hat and No Cattle on Voter ID?
Folks in Texas are laying down Texas-sized boasts that they’ll fight to the last in court to get voter ID approved. Great, it should have happened a year ago. The decision to submit Texas voter ID to Eric Holder’s corrupt Justice Department was foolhardy, bordering on suicidal. There is a way to tell if Texas really is finally all in, or still employing misguided half-measures.
Simply, will Texas challenge Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, particularly the application of the law, as unconstitutional?
If Texas does not, then Texas really isn’t committed to getting voter ID approved by the court with the most effective legal strategy.
If Texas files in federal court to have voter ID approved, and once again tip-toes around the constitutional issue, then Texas is not defending the law as effectively as it could. Sources tell me that some officials in Texas don't want to go all-in against the Holder DOJ because they are afraid – afraid of the political risk of challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act that was used to block Texas voter ID.
Texas tip-toed around the constitutional issues in the redistricting lawsuit seeking to have legislative districts approved. Fine, but voter ID is different.
More importantly, the use of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to block Texas voter ID is, in fact, unconstitutional. The Voting Section used statistical exaggerations and misapplication of the law to justify the objection. Why wouldn’t Texas challenge the constitutionality of the action against Texas?
Florida and Arizona have challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 as it applies to those states. Here is the question for Texas: what price politically have those states paid for challenging Section 5?
Consider Georgia. Holder’s Voting Rights Section, where I used to work, blocked Georgia’s citizenship verification law. Georgia responded by challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 in court, and DOJ capitulated. Sources tell me DOJ is petrified of losing Section 5, and it affects their preclearance decisions.
The political appointees are deliberately assigning some of the most radical new Holder attorney hires to review voter ID laws. Jennifer Marazano was assigned to review Texas voter ID. That should have been the first warning sign the law was doomed at DOJ. Marazano came from the Advancement Project, a group that opposes election integrity efforts around the nation.
Texas officials should read some of the left-wing blogs bemoaning how quickly DOJ folds when the constitutionality of Section 5 is challenged.
Had Texas filed a lawsuit in April 2011 to have voter ID approved, and challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 in the complaint, voter ID would now be in place in Texas. Instead, it is unlikely to be effective even by November 2012 – unless Texas challenges the constitutionality of Section 5. Then approval will come faster.
We will soon learn if Texas is all hat and no cattle. A lawsuit to obtain approval of voter ID that challenges the unconstitutional action of Eric Holder will unleash a stampede. Anything else is a whole lot of nothing.