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Federal Appeals Court Greenlights Texas Voter ID Law

A federal appeals court has given Texas the go-ahead to implement its revised voter ID law, lifting a lower court’s injunction.

The United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to allow the measure known as SB 5 to go into effect starting next year, according to Politico.

The court determined that U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Romas, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, overstepped her authority by enjoining its implementation in a ruling issued last month.

“The State has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits. SB 5 allows voters without qualifying photo ID to cast regular ballots by executing a declaration that they face a reasonable impediment to obtaining qualifying photo ID. This declaration is made under the penalty of perjury,” Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Elrod wrote in a joint order Tuesday.

“The State has made a strong showing that this reasonable-impediment procedure remedies plaintiffs’ alleged harm and thus forecloses plaintiffs’ injunctive relief,” the judges added.

Smith is a Reagan appointee and Elrod was placed on the bench by George W. Bush.

Fifth Circuit Judge James Graves Jr. dissented in the case, arguing that SB 5 should not be implemented until the law’s final constitutionality is determined.

The Obama appointee wrote that the circuit court should have issued a “comprehensive” ruling.

“In other words, the correct approach would be to stay both the district court’s order and the new (voter ID) legislation,” he said.

The Department of Justice supported the court’s ruling.

“We are pleased that the Fifth Circuit has stayed the injunction and allowed Texas to proceed with its duly enacted voter identification laws,” DOJ spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said in a statement.

“Preserving the integrity of the ballot is vital to our democracy, and the Fifth Circuit’s order allows Texas to continue to fulfill that duty as this case moves forward,” she added.

SB 5 passed the Texas House of Representatives and Senate with strong majorities earlier this year.

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source: Western Journalism

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