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Federal courts strike down Texas, Wisconsin voter ID laws

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a voter ID law in Wisconsin and a federal court struck down a voter ID law in Texas leading up to the November elections.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday after a federal district court ruled in favor of the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Texas’ voter identification law:

“We are extremely heartened by the court’s decision, which affirms our position that the Texas voter identification law unfairly and unnecessarily restricts access to the franchise. Even after the Voting Rights Act was seriously eroded last year, we vowed to continue enforcing the remaining portions of that statute as aggressively as possible. This ruling is an important vindication of those efforts.

“The careful and meticulous scrutiny of alleged infringement of the right to vote, which this Court is legally required to conduct, includes understanding the history of impairments that have plagued the right to vote in Texas, the racially discriminatory motivations and effects of burdensome qualifications on the right to vote, and their undeniable legacy with respect to the State’s minority population,” the federal court wrote in its opinion. “This uncontroverted and shameful history was perhaps summed up best by Reverend Peter Johnson, who has been an active force in the civil rights movement since the 1960s. ‘They had no civil rights towns or cities in the State of Texas because of the brutal, violent intimidation and terrorism that still exists in the State of Texas; not as overt as it was yesterday. But east Texas is Mississippi 40 years ago.'”

“We are also pleased that the Supreme Court has refused to allow Wisconsin to implement its own restrictive voter identification law,” Holder continued.

The Supreme court’s 6-3 vote found that Wisconsin’s photo ID law discriminated against minorities.

“This Department will never yield in its commitment to protecting that most sacred of Americans’ rights – the right to vote,” Holder proclaimed.

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