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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Litigation

 

Veasey v. Perry

Case Information

Date Filed: June 26, 2013
State: Texas
Issues: Voter ID, Voter Registration, Voter Supression
Current Court: District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Case 2:13-cv-00193)

Issue:

Issue 1:

Does SB 14 violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973, by denying the right to vote on account of race and language minority?

Issue 2:

Does SB 14 violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by purposely denying minority voters equal protection for registration and voting?

Issue 3:

Does SB 14 violate the Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by prupsely denying minority voters the right to vote?

Issue 4:

Does SB 14 severly burden or facially discriminate a class of voters without a legitimate governmental interest and violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

Issue 5:

Does SB 14 restrict freedom of speech and association in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

Issue 6:

Does SB 14 create a poll tax in violation of the Fourteenth and Twenty-First Amendments of the U.S. Constitution?

Status:

Complaint filed 6/26/13. Amended Complaint filed 8/22/13. Motion to dismiss filed 10/25/13. U.S. memorandum in opposition to motion to dismiss filed 11/22/13. Order to Consolidate Cases filed 1/10/14. Amended Intervenor Complaint filed 2/3/14. Plaintiff Intervenors' First Amended Complaint filed 2/4/14. United States' Motion to Compel Production of Legislative Documents filed on 2/11/14. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff-Intervenors' Amended Complaint filed 2/18/14. Defendants' Response to Motion to Compel filed 2/24/14. Order on Motion to Compel filed 4/3/14. Defendants' Motion to Compel the Production of Documents filed 4/7/14. Third Party Legislators' Motion to Quash Subpoenas filed 4/25/14. US' Request for Judicial Notice filed 4/25/14. United States' Motion for Protective Order filed 5/12/14. Order regarding Discovery filed 6/6/14. Defendants' Motion to Compel filed 6/10/14. Defendant's Motion for a Protective Order filed 6/17/14. Order denying Motion to Quash filed 6/18/14. United States' Motion for a Protective Order filed 6/26/14. Order Granting Motion for Judicial Notice filed 7/10/14. Defendants' Answer to Veasey-LULAC's Amended Complaint filed 7/16/14. Defendants' Answer to United States' Complaint filed 7/16/14. Defendants' Answer to MALC's Complaint filed 7/16/14. Defendants' Answer to Oritz's Complaint filed 7/16/14. Defendants' Answer to Texas Association of Hispanic County Judges filed 7/16/14. Veasey-LULAC Plaintiff's Motion to Compel filed 7/18/14. Plaintiff's Response to Motion to Compel filed 7/21/14. Veasey-LULAC Plaintiff's Response to Motion to Compel filed 7/22/14. Order granting in part, denying in part Motion for Protective Order filed 7/24/14. Defendant's Motion to Compel Production filed 7/25/14. Judgment filed 8/5/14. Joint Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Affirmative Defenses filed 8/11/14. Defendant's Motion to Compel filed 8/22/14. Defendant's Proposed Finding of Facts filed 8/22/14. United States' Notice of Stipulations filed 8/28/14. Plaintiff's Proposed Finding of Facts filed 9/18/14. Opinion striking down voter ID law filed 10/9/14. Fifth Circuit's order granting emergency motion for stay pending appeal filed 10/14/14. LULAC plaintiffs' Emergency Application to Vacate Stay filed 10/15/14. Texas Chapter of NAACP et al plaintiffs' Emergency Application to Vacate Stay filed 10/15/14. DOJ's Emergency Application to Vacate Stay filed 10/15/14. Order denying Stay filed 10/18/14.

Supreme Court Documents

Circuit Court of Appeals Documents

District Court Documents


Circuit Court of Appeals Documents



Commentary

David  Stebenne

Reshaping the Rules for Voting: How Two Different Eras Compare

David Stebenne

Fifty years ago, an eight – year period of innovation in voting rules began with ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution. Formally adopted on January 23, 1964, it put an end to the practice (in several of the Southern and Border States) of requiring payment in order to vote in federal elections. Two years later, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections interpreted the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause so as to apply the ban to state elections as well. In 1965, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law a Civil Rights Act known less formally as the Voting Rights Act. It established federal registrars in Southern states where local registrars had long denied the right to vote to black residents. That measure was followed by Congress’s passage and the states’ ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment prohibited denying the right to vote to citizens who had reached age eighteen. Part of a trend to establish that age as the mark of adulthood, rather than the older standard of twenty-one years, the 26th Amendment was formally adopted on June 30, 1971. And, of course, during that same eight – year time period, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down landmark reapportionment rulings that required state legislative bodies to reapportion themselves (and U.S. House districts) promptly after each federal census, and to do so in accordance with the principle of one person, one vote. By the end of 1972, that reapportionment process was complete, and had produced some far reaching changes for voters at the ballot box. For example, in Maryland, where I mostly grew up, representation of the rural and conservative Eastern Shore counties greatly diminished in the Maryland General Assembly (and in Maryland’s U.S. House delegation), while that of the Baltimore metropolitan area greatly increased.

From the vantage point of more than four decades later, what all of those changes meant for the American electorate has become clear. The impact of the poll tax ban and introduction of federal registrars into the South substantially increased the number of black women voters. (The rise in felony disfranchisement among black men nationally over the past forty years meant that gains among black men voting in the South were offset by losses among black men voting elsewhere.) Voters between the ages of eighteen and twenty seldom turned out in large numbers, and so giving them the right to vote didn’t change much in terms of who voted with any regularity. Thus, the one major gain in terms of participation came among black women. At the same time, the propensity of people in the middle three fifths of the income distribution living outside the South to vote fell substantially over those forty years, among whites especially, a shift that was most pronounced from 1972 to 1996. (The decline of labor unions was the single most important reason for that.)

Those changes in who voted regularly had significant implications for national politics. Black women tend to be among the most strongly liberal voters in the country, in the contemporary sense of that word. Most self – described moderates are middle class white people. Substantially more voting by black women has tended to push the more liberal of the two major parties leftward, while substantially less participation by middle class whites has tended to push both major parties away from the moderate middle.

With this history in mind, consider the new eight – year period of reshaping voting rules that began around 2006 and has continued through the present. The major changes have been in the direction of making voting somewhat harder to do, thanks to new requirements to provide identification, restrict early voting, eliminating same – day registration, and barring votes cast in the wrong precinct from being counted at all, to give only four examples. North Carolina has recently been a leader in that regard, but those same kinds of changes have played out in many other states as well. Those changes in voting rules appear likely to reduce voter participation by the one group that gained a lot from the changes of the earlier era, i.e., black women, and the poorer of them especially. (Felony disfranchisement continues to keep voting by black men low irrespective of these changes in voting laws.) At the same time, interest in voting among middle class whites has increased substantially over what it was in the 1970’s, ‘80’s, and ‘90’s. They appear much better able to navigate the current system of voting requirements because middle class whites are significantly more likely to have the forms of identification, flexible schedules, literacy skills and familiarity with local governance needed to do so.

What this suggests is that whatever the intent of recent changes in voting rules, one of its most important consequences will be to strengthen the political power of the center, by discouraging voting somewhat among black women (and the majority among them with low incomes especially), who tend to be strongly liberal, while voting by middle class whites, who tend to be moderate, increases. Strengthening the center, in and of itself, is not so troubling in a country that seems excessively polarized. What is troubling is a way of revitalizing the center that follows, however unintentionally, from reducing access to voting by eligible citizens.  

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Wasserman Schultz says state's ID law struck down by Supreme Court

Professor Dan Tokaji was quoted in a Politifact article on judicial rulings in Wisconsin and Texas on voter identification laws. Several Democratic candidates labeled the decision as "striking down" the laws, something Politifact called into question.

"It’s not accurate to say it was ‘struck down,’ but it’s understandable" given the New York Times headline and other media coverage, said Daniel P. Tokaji, an Ohio State University law professor and expert on election law.

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Info & Analysis

10th Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part, in Colorado Secret Ballot Case

The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming the District Court's dismissal of claims alleging violations of substantive due process, the right to vote, and the right to free speech. Plaintiffs had sued Colorado's Secretary of State over the use of traceable ballots giving election officials the theoretical ability to learn how individuals voted. The court remanded claims regarding procedural due process and equal protection. The case is Citizen Center v. Gessler.

more info & analysis...