Underscoring warnings that newly anointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not work to protect voting rights, news broke on Monday that the Trump administration is reversing its stance on whether Texas’ photo identification law was enacted with discriminatory intent.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday after the trial was postponed following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Under former President Barack Obama, the DOJ was slated to argue that the state had intentionally discriminated against Latino and African American voters when it passed the 2011 law, SB 14, and had in November submitted (pdf) hundreds of documents supporting that claim.
Gerry Hebert, director of Voting Rights and Redistricting with the Campaign Legal Center, broke news of the DOJ’s reversal on Twitter before other voting rights organizations and observers confirmed the reports.
Voting Rights organizations—including the Campaign Legal Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Brennan Center for Justice, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund—that are arguing on behalf of Texas voters in the case Veasey v. Abbott have vowed to fight on “without the DOJ.”
Danielle Lang, deputy director of voting rights with the Campaign Legal Center, said that the DOJ “informed plaintiffs in the case that it will be filing documents to formally drop its opposition to the Texas law. She called the decision an ‘extraordinary disappointment,'” the Associated Press reported.
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