A federal three-judge panel in Washington Thursday rejected a request from Texas to approve its voter photo-identification law.
Under Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act, certain sections of the country, including Texas, must receive permission from the U.S. attorney general or a three-judge panel in Washington before implementing voter changes.
Blocked by Attorney General Eric Holder, Texas officials asked the three-judge panel for a "declaratory judgment" that the state voter ID law "neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color" or membership in "a language minority group," as required by Section 5.
But U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel said in his opinion the three-judge panel finds "that Texas has failed to make this showing -- in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, (the voter ID law) will likely have a retrogressive effect. Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied section 5's purpose element. Accordingly, we deny the state's request for a declaratory judgment."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the legislation into law on May 27, 2011.
Texas can still fight for the law though its request for a declaratory judgment was rejected. Tatel ordered officials from the U.S. Justice Department and Texas "to meet and confer as to a schedule to govern the constitutional issue and to file an advisory within 14 days."
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