Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Voting rights advocates say the decision is a "loss for democracy." (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc)

Voting rights advocates say the decision is a "loss for democracy." (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc)

'Loss for Democracy': Supreme Court Allows Texas's Voter ID Law

Court refuses to block law critics and lower court say is discriminatory

Andrea Germanos

The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday said that Texas's controversial voter ID law can remain in place for this year's election, potentially threatening voting rights of hundreds of thousands of Texans.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos had struck down the law on Oct. 9, finding that it "has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, [...] was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," and "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax." Days later, a federal appeals court blocked that decision, keeping the voter ID restrictions in place.

The Supreme Court's early morning decision rejects an emergency appeal brought forth by voting rights advocates to reinstate the district court's injunction.

Justice Ginsburg, who was joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan in dissenting, wrote: "The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters."

Lyle Denniston writes at Scotusblog that the decision is "a stinging defeat for the Obama administration and a number of civil rights groups." He adds: "This apparently was the first time since 1982 that the Court has allowed a law restricting voters’ rights to be enforced after a federal court had ruled it to be unconstitutional."

"The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it must be protected," Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, Chairman of Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives (MALC), said in a press statement following the decision.

"The courts are supposed to protect voters against discrimination and disenfranchisement, but the Supreme Court got this one wrong. This ruling is a loss for democracy, as it will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of minorities to vote this November," he stated.

The Brennan Center for Justice criticized the Court's decision as well, stating that it "demonstrates the inadequacy of existing protections against discrimination at the voting booth."

"A court of law found that Texas' photo ID was enacted with intentional discrimination against minority voters, and yet that discrimination is being allowed to infect the November elections," stated Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "That cannot stand. We clearly need new laws and protections to ensure our elections are free, fair, and accessible."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Tax the Rich,' Say Millionaire Activists Protesting at Davos Amid Record Wealth, Inequality

"As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth my whole life I know how skewed our economy is and I cannot continue to sit back and wait for someone, somewhere, to do something," said one demonstrator.

Brett Wilkins ·

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo