Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Take your ID with you when you vote, says the Fifth Circuit

Because it's too late to change the rules.

"Based primarily on the extremely fast-approaching election date, we STAY the district court’s judgment pending appeal," 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Clement wrote, in a ruling joined by Judge Catharina Haynes (and posted here). "This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election....The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts."

The third appeals court judge on the panel, Gregg Costa, agreed with the decision to stay the district court ruling, but did not join their opinion. He said he was troubled about the prospect of an election being held under discriminatory rules.

"We should be extremely reluctant to have an election take place under a law that a district court has found, and that our court may find, is discriminatory," Costa wrote. However, he said it appeared the Supreme Court opposes federal court-ordered changes to election procedures on the eve of elections. "On that limited basis, I agree a stay should issue," he said.

Clement and Haynes are appointees of President George W. Bush. Costa was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Yeah, that's what I thought they were going to do.  More from Lyle Denniston.

Update:  I hope nobody showed the three Fifth Circuit judges any pictures of black people voting.

Update II:  More from Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center, at Election Law Blog (now appearing regularly in the right-hand column here), via Brad Friedman.

"So instead, the court makes it legal for all pollworkers to demand the more restricted set (preventing all individuals without the right ID from voting a valid ballot at all)," he continued. "Or, translated even further: if we let the district court's order stand, some people without the right ID will be able to vote, and some won't. And if we stay the district court, all people without the right ID won't be able to vote. And in elections, 'all' is better than 'some.'"

Levitt derides the ruling as 'foolish consistency'. "It's one thing to stop last-minute changes when the impact is less dire for those affected, another to stop last-minute changes when the change is new and unfamiliar, and still another to stop last-minute changes when the reason for the change isn't clear."

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

You never know: SCOTUS just told the Fifth Circuit it was wrong on some of Texas anti-abortion law: