Texas’ Attorney General asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the state’s voter ID case in a reply filed Tuesday in support of a petition for a writ of certiorari.
Plaintiffs do not dispute that they did not show that Texas’ voter-ID law (SB14) caused a racial disparity in voting participation, and the district court acknowledged that “Plaintiffs ha[d] not demonstrated that any particular voter . . . cannot get the necessary ID or vote by absentee ballot under SB14.”
Texas says the Court should “correct the Fifth Circuit’s misguided ruling that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act” and review the discriminatory-purpose claim “now to reject the grave charge that the Texas Legislature acted with a racially invidious purpose,” as even with “unprecedented access” to internal legislative materials, plaintiffs couldn’t produce any evidence of intentional discrimination.
Plaintiffs do not dispute that they obtained sweeping discovery of internal legislative materials—thousands of pages of internal legislative documents and hours of legislator depositions. Pet. 33.3 That treasure trove of evidence contained no proof of discriminatory purpose. Pet. 32. It established that voter-ID bills in Texas were blocked by Democratic legislators in three straight legislative sessions between 2005 and 2009, even with significant public support for voter-ID laws . . .
After Republicans won a supermajority of the Texas Legislature in 2010, however, they were able to pass SB14 to deter voter fraud, safeguard voter confidence, and honor the will of the majority of Texans… given that this sweeping discovery did occur here, plaintiffs should be held to what the internal legislative materials proved: that the Texas Legislature enacted SB14 for the valid reasons of deterring voter fraud and safeguarding voter confidence. Pet. 32. This exceptional scenario warrants the Court’s review before proceedings continue in the district court on the wholly unsubstantiated charge that the Texas Legislature acted with a racially discriminatory purpose in passing SB14.