A few hours ago, I noted the persistent partisan attack on voting rights. As noted in that slightly earlier article, the attack has not proceeded in a straight line.
The Supreme Court started the mess, by second-guessing Congress' reaffirmation of the so-called coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act which targeted for special scrutiny areas where there are large minority populations but disproportionately small minority voter ranks. Tsk, tsk said the conservative side of the Supreme Court -- this is 2014 and the Voting Rights Act's coverage formula is out of date.
Who in 2014 would ever think of denying a citizen the basic right to vote on the basis of minority status or other invidious discrimination? Who for the love of Ferguson could think that?!
Turns out, there's more than a few people out there willing to take your vote away if you are "the wrong kind." Whether prompted by embedded racism or some other suspicion of views different from that of the GOP, North Carolina and Ohio have managed to bamboozle the courts into limiting access to the ballot with complex ID requirements or otherwise making it less possible to vote.
When last we left this saga this morning: Texas, where the Governor cannot remember which federal departments he feels passionately about is in need of closure was precluded by a wise federal district judge from piling on new ID requirements since, under constitutional cases, change too imminent to an election creates confusion.
The Fifth Circuit in the last few minutes has now overturned the Texas trial judge who heard the evidence, finding that the change is really the status quo and going back to the old ID requirements is more confusing than picking up last-minute new ID requirements.
Sure, why not? If the courts can count chads (or stop the counting of them to be more precise) then the courts can say change is stability and stability is change.
Governor Perry, here's a hint: one of the departments you think you want to eliminate is the Department of Education. Here's a second hint: don't.
Back to the main event -- at least until the Supreme Court weighs in -- the district court's finding that in-person voter fraud is rare, combined with its reinstatement of Texas' prior voter ID law, forecloses the possibility of irreparable harm. At most, then, Texas has showing some remote chance of a harm, but "[s]imply cannot show irreparable injury.
And why is that, Governor Perry? Because the injury is not to the State but to the voter.
The absence of irreparable harm to the State stands in stark contrast to the substantial injury that will now result (at least without Supreme Court intervention). The Supremes should intervene to overturn the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as the right to vote is "preservative of all rights."
The sooner the Supreme Court can say that the better.