[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a brief [text, PDF] Thursday urging a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] to dismiss a challenge to changes to Texas' 2011 voter ID law [materials], which was found to be discriminatory against minority voters [JURIST report]. The DOJ argued that Texas' Senate Bill 5 [materials] made changes to the 2011 law that remedied the original discrimination concerns. The brief states:
As a matter of bedrock principles of federalism and comity, the United States (in bringing enforcement actions) and this Court (in deciding cases) must defer to any "constitutionally and legally valid" legislative remedy that was "enacted by the appropriate state government unit" to address the violations that the Court found.Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will decide whether a challenge to the amended legislation can continue.
Since being signed into law in 2011 by former Governor Rick Perry, the original voter ID law has been a contentious issue for the Texas legislature, citizens and the judiciary. In February the DOJ introduced a motion to withdraw [JURIST report] from the case, reversing its original stance that the bill was created with discriminatory intent. In January the US Supreme Court [official website] declined to hear an appeal [JURIST report] involving the law. In September a federal judge ordered Texas to revise its voter ID materials [JURIST report], as it had been found to not comply with an order to relax the law.