U.S. 5th Circuit Appeals Court Overturns Texas Voter ID Law

When originally passed by Governor Rick Perry and the staunchly Republican, staunchly CONservative (and it must be said, staunchly white, privileged and male) Texas Legislature of 2011, lawmakers in Austin’s pink dome had set out to do one thing… create one of the strictest Voter ID laws in the history of the United States.  Their goal with the law was to discourage voting by any and all disadvantaged classes at every possible measure.  So much so that even supporters of the concept of Voter ID laws took a look at Texas, and decided our law was a bridge too far.

Thus was the case with today’s ruling from the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who sided with the Obama Administration  and overturned the state’s ridiculous Voting restrictions.  Here’s the main story from the Associated Press (via the New York Times)…

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court struck down Texas’ voter ID law on Wednesday in a victory for the Obama administration, which had taken the unusual step of bringing the weight of the U.S. Justice Department to fight new Republican-backed mandates at the ballot box.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2011 law carries a “discriminatory effect” and violates one of the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act — the heart of which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Texas was allowed to use the voter ID law during the 2014 elections, thereby requiring an estimated 13.6 million registered Texas voters to have a photo ID.

Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law required opponents to meet a far higher threshold and prove that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters.

By most assessments, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is considered to be one of the most Conservative federal benches in the United States.

To those that have lived through the last several election cycles in Texas, today’s ruling shouldn’t be much of a surprise, as it really was the logical conclusion.  As I wrote in 2014, the Texas Voter ID law is in a class all its own because the state doesn’t want everyone to vote.  The law targets certain voting populations, while letting others slide.  And for those that may not have access photo ID but are extra determined to vote, Texas makes their new form of “non-ID” (used only for voting, and nothing else) very cumbersome to obtain.  Basically, Texas lawmakers have been asking for this decision, so it’s good to see that they finally got it.

Here is the link to the court’s full opinion.  

As of press time, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had yet to comment on the 5th Circuit ruling.  Understandable given he’s been busy lately trying to figure out how to keep himself out of prisonwhich seems to be taking precedence over other important business of the state.  When is he planning to resign anyway??

Texas Non-ID

This is the Election Identification Certificate, otherwise known as Texas’ non-ID.  Photo credit:  The Texas Department of Public Safety

Texoblogosphere: Week of August 3rd

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers Attorneys General who aren’t themselves lawbreakers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is dismayed but not surprised by the business community’s apathy about the coming effects of climate change in Texas.

Ken Paxton’s indictments broke news on Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours later than PDiddie at Brains and Eggs predicted. The one remaining question is: how long does our lazy-eyed attorney general twist in the wind before Gov. Greg Abbott cuts down his stinking carcass?

Nonsequiteuse is concerned we may never get back through the looking glass. She realizes that facts are a quaint vestige of simpler times, but cannot resist offering not one but five of them, plus a conclusion, an opinion, and even a bonus prediction about Ken Paxton’s pending felony indictment, words that give her great delight to type over and over and over again.

Socratic Gadfly talks about the initial rollout of Congress’ “new” energy plan and how so little of it is new.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme say you can thank Ronald Reagan and his greedy friends for all of the mentally ill people out on the streets. An Edinburg woman is a widow thanks to Ronnie and the new, militarized police.

Neil at All People Have Value made note of former President Carter referring to the U.S. as an oligarchy. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Scott Braddock analyzes the Donald Trump-inspired proxy war between Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

Lone Star Ma prays for peace and justice.

David Ortez explains what the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is and why it matters.

Street Smart shows how sacrificing the local street grid for highways can be devastating to the surrounding area.

The Texas Election Law Blog has some hope for restoring regulatory balance to the voting rights process.

At Long Last, Texas AG Ken Paxton Arrested, Indicted

Tornadoes can be devastating natural disasters.  One day, a neighborhood, or even a whole town can be going about business as usual, and in a few fateful moments, everything change.

While much of this is also true about hurricanes, there is one important distinction of the two.  With a hurricane, you almost always get some warning time.

Such was certainly the case with the hurricane of issues surrounding Texas’ third highest public official.  The fact that Attorney General Ken Paxton was arrested and indicted today may be a massive shock to some, but for other Texans, this was a day forecast on the political calendar for a very long time.  For evidence of this, take Paxton’s opponent in the 2014 elections… Democrat Sam Houston.  In an interview with Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune, Houston predicted the Attorney General’s fate…

At the time, Houston’s postulation was in the context of a 2014 election where Paxton basically hid from voters as soon as he had secured the Republican Primary nomination.  And of course today, we are finding out details for why he felt it best to keep quiet.

Without further lead-up, here’s the story from Brandon Formby of the Dallas Morning News

Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in to the Collin County jail this morning and was arrested on two felony counts of securities fraud and one felony count of not registering as an investment adviser, according to public records. He was quickly released after his arrest. His total bail was set at $35,000.

Indictments signed last week and unsealed today say that in July 2011, Paxton “engaged in fraud” by selling more than $100,000 of common stock in Servergy Inc. to both Byron Cook and Joel Hochberg without disclosing that he would be compensated for their purchases or that he had already been paid with 100,000 shares of the company.

A year later, Paxton allegedly “rendered services as an investment advisor representative to James and Freddie Henry” without being registered with the state’s securities commissioner.

That third charge — failing to register as a financial agent — is an action to which he has already admitted in a civil proceeding.


GOP leaders had been virtually silent so far about supporting Paxton, who was elected in November after serving Collin County as a state senator.

But the Republican Party of Texas released a statement criticizing the charges this morning. Party spokesman Aaron Whitehead said the indictments were surrounded in “outrageous events” but did not elaborate on which details of the investigation and subsequent charges constituted a “sloppy process.”

Mr. Paxton is only the 2nd high profile Texas Republican to be indicted this year.

At some point, voters will be forced to draw some uneasy connections.  As a current elected official, how will the Paxton indictment resonate to other politicians?  Lest we forget, the Attorney General wouldn’t be where he is today without the firm endorsement of Senator Ted Cruz early in his primary campaign.  If there is any possibility of more widespread ramifications, this could lead to big trouble in state government.

And of course, there is that whole business of our state needing an Attorney General that is capable of doing their job without having to worry about going to jail.  In any event, state Republican leaders would have to be kidding themselves to see that this event does not have an effect on their future.  Perhaps they should call for the AG’s resignation??

Texas Leftist will be watching to see how this shakes out.  In the world of Texas political hurricanes, an arrest and indictment are nowhere near the eye of the storm.


The picture to the left is Attorney General Ken Paxton’s mug shot via Collin County jail.  On the right is an official photo from the AG website.  

Texas “Feels the Bern” With Bernie Sanders

There’s just something about Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

The Independent Senator from Vermont has been the surprise story of the 2016 race thus far, drawing huge crowds to events in nearly every state he visits, including Texas. As the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports the Sanders campaign seems to have no trouble finding the blue in a sea of deep red…

FORT WORTH – Lauren McCauley has already made her pick.

The race for the White House doesn’t begin in earnest until next year, but she is backing Bernie Sanders, a long-shot candidate trying to spark a political revolution.

“I find it very refreshing to have a candidate who I feel speaks for the middle class,” said McCauley, 31, of Fort Worth. “He has a long history of supporting women’s rights and gay rights.

“He seems like the only no-bulls— candidate in the race.”

Even throughout the Obama Administration, the President has rarely campaigned or visited Texas. The fact that Bernie Sanders is staying true to his word with a 50-state campaign. And the result?? New hope, energy and excitement for a Progressive base long neglected by national tickets. At this point it’s too early to know for sure just who will be the Democratic nominee, but we can all be thankful for the healthy, respectful debate which has emerged among the candidates. If only the GOP could say the same.

So add Texas on to a rapidly-growing list of states that “Feel the Bern”.  And let’s hope that Senator Sanders continues holding traditional political wisdom to the fire.