When is Texas going to file that voter ID appeal?

The Lone Star Project would like to know.

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Last week, Texas AG Ken Paxton made a big show in the press by announcing that he would file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the ruling of the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals that the Texas voter ID law is discriminatory in violation of the Voting Rights Act.  He bragged, “We’re going to take it to the highest court in the land and hopefully get this turned around.”

Yet now, more than a week later, Paxton hasn’t taken any action on the SCOTUS Appeal.  What gives?

Is Paxton scamming GOP activists?
Chances that the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the Texas case are not good, and the odds of him ultimately prevailing are worse.  The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is the most conservative federal court in the nation, so it’s unlikely their finding of discrimination would be reversed.

Paxton’s advisors have likely informed him that a SCOTUS appeal is a longshot.  However, his political base is made up of the most extreme, divisive and irrational activists within the Texas Republican Party.  They drank the phony voter fraud Kool-Aid served up by Greg Abbott and other Republicans and likely won’t accept a rational legal decision.  Ken Paxton’s on the spot, so instead of shooting straight with his own supporters, he may be scamming them and stalling for time.

Is Paxton intentionally creating voter confusion through threats and delays?
The most likely reason for Paxton’s threat to appeal and his failure to follow through is to confuse voters and the media about what voting rules really will be followed in November.

By hitting the media talk show circuit and talking about a Supreme Court appeal, Paxton creates uncertainty.  At the same time, the state is issuing confusing and misleading documents implying that the overturned voter ID law remains unchanged.

And Paxton has gone far beyond talking about filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.  He went on Fox News and made a series of threatening remarks vowing to prosecute voters who may misunderstand or make a mistake under the new voting procedures.

Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott, and other Texas GOP leaders know that the most damaging aspect of their relentless insistence on a discriminatory voter ID law is that voters become uncertain about the rules and see the very act of voting as risky and intimidating.

Indeed, the announcement of an appeal was made on August 16. That was six days after the “softening” agreement was approved by the federal district court judge, and four full weeks after the Fifth Circuit ruling that affirmed the lower court ruling. I Am Not A Lawyer, and I know this sort of thing can take some time, but I don’t think it takes that long, especially given that the Fifth Circuit ruling was an en banc ruling that had affirmed the three-judge panel ruling last August. By the way, the state filed its request for an en banc review of that ruling in less than four weeks, so it’s not hard to conclude that they are taking their time here. And to be clear here, I don’t really care if they had decided to file an appeal or not. It’s that it’s not at all hard to believe, as the LSP alleges, that the main goal here is sowing confusion. If the intent is to file an appeal, then get on with it already. If not, then shut up and do what the court ordered.

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2 Responses to When is Texas going to file that voter ID appeal?

  1. mollusk says:

    The deadline for asking the Supreme Court to review a case is 90 days after the judgment was entered, and it can be extended. I agree that the chances of this getting taken up are slim, and that’s even before trying to factor in what effect the agreed order for this election’s rules might have.

    There’s an old adage: “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

  2. brad m says:

    Due to workload right now I’ll have to sum up my response on Ken Paxton: What a jackass.

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