The 5th Circuit has affirmed the district court’s findings that Texas Voter ID violated federal law. A couple of quick initial thoughts reading the opinion:
1. The ruling deals a blow to the Justice Department’s theories on intent. The opinion says that there must be the specific intention to discriminate, not just that discrimination might occur. This is a serious blow to those who would offer a legal theory that shows intent everywhere.
2. Shelby is cited for the idea that discrimination must be contemporaneous. So much for the DOJ-fueled experts who reflexively talk about reconstruction.
3. This won’t sit well with the plaintiff’s braintrust: “In turn, the relevance of this evidence rests upon the unsupported premise that a legislator concerned about border security or opposed to the entry into Texas of undocumented immigrants is also necessarily in favor of suppressing voting by American citizens of color.”
4. There is now a wider circuit split on what Section 2 results test would look like.
5. That the opinion was written by a George W. appointee only demonstrates further the “strength” of the trial defense.
6. Texas could have fixed this law in January but didn’t? Why not? There was a prevailing narrative pushed by some interests that the Fifth Circuit would reverse and uphold the law. That didn’t happen.