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Veasey v. Abbott
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
830 F.3d 216 (2016)
Texas (defendant) passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) requiring voters to show photo identification before voting. The Texas legislature described SB 14 as protecting ballot integrity. Opponents of the bill noted that in-person voter fraud, the only type protected against by SB 14, had resulted in only two convictions in the decade before SB 14 was passed and that mail-in voting, not covered by SB 14, had a much greater potential for fraud. During deliberations, opponents of the bill testified that minority voters would likely be disparately impacted by SB 14, and the opponents proposed ameliorative amendments, which were rejected. After SB 14 passed, Black and Hispanic voters were respectively 305 percent and 195 percent more likely to lack the required documents than were White voters. Texas also had a history of discriminating against minority voters. For example, Texas regularly violated the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by racially gerrymandering districts. Historical discrimination against minorities in education, health, and employment also placed burdens on minority groups’ abilities to fully engage with the political process. A group of minority voters (the minority voters) (plaintiffs) challenged SB 14 under § 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The district court found that SB 14 violated the VRA because it was adopted with a discriminatory purpose and had a discriminatory effect on minority voters. Texas appealed, and the Fifth Circuit found errors in the district court’s discriminatory-purpose analysis but affirmed the district court’s holding that SB 14 had a discriminatory effect in violation of § 2 of the VRA. Texas petitioned the court to rehear the case en banc.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Haynes, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Jones, J.)
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