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In July 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reheard en banc its own three-judge panel decision ruling that Texas Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), a law requiring individuals to present a form of photo identification in order to vote, was unconstitutional in violation of the First and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The en banc Fifth Circuit reversed the District Court for the Southern District of Texas’s decision that SB 14 violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The en banc Fifth Circuit affirmed, however, the district court’s ruling that SB 14 violated the Voting Rights Act because of its discriminatory effect, and remanded that issue to the district court to determine an appropriate remedy prior to the 2016 general election. The dissenting opinion argued that the majority relied on improper evidence to support its determination that SB 14 had a discriminatory effect on certain Texas voters. This comment argues that the en banc Fifth Circuit properly determined that SB 14 could have been enacted with a discriminatory purpose, and in fact did have discriminatory effects that unconstitutionally interfered with low-income minorities’ participation in the political process.
Mary K. Sexton,
Identity Crisis: Veasey v. Abbott and the Unconstitutionality of Texas Voter ID Law SB 14,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.
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