State says “no showing of any voter not able to vote;” Judge raps plaintiffs’ “rankest speculation” about discriminatory intent
The Justice Department’s war on Texas’ photo voter ID law was back in court Tuesday with questions focused on remedies and intent:
Judge Catharina Haynes, one of three judges hearing the Texas case at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, suggested in questioning that the matter should perhaps be sent back to the district court for further consideration… Haynes also noted that a statewide election took place in Texas last year under the requirements of the new law, which was being enforced while the appeal was pending. “Shouldn’t we look at the last election?”
Citing “some clearly erroneous fact-finding” in U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ decision, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller told the court there has been “no showing of any voter not able to vote because of Senate Bill 14,” and nothing in the record to suggest an intent to discriminate.
[Chief Judge Carl] Stewart said “strong circumstantial evidence” is a typical standard in proving discrimination cases. But the judges also questioned the plaintiffs’ partial reliance on testimony from lawmakers opposed to the law to prove the Legislature’s intention to discriminate.
“Using the evidence about what the opponents of the law thought proponents thought,” Haynes said, “just seems like the rankest speculation.”