Texas wants to take its voter identification battle to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the justices to hear his arguments about why the state’s photo ID requirements for voting do not discriminate against Hispanics and African-American voters.
“Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy,” the Republican said in a statement. “Texas enacted a common-sense voter ID law and I am confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately reinstate it.”
Texas officials say the voter ID law bolsters the integrity of elections by preventing voter fraud, which Gov. Greg Abbott has called “rampant.” But the U.S. Department of Justice and other plaintiffs — backed by court rulings — have pointed out that in-person voter fraud is incredibly rare.
Friday’s filing is Paxton’s last-ditch attempt to salvage the requirements after a string of defeats in court.
Paxton is appealing to a Supreme Court that still has just eight members, following the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. If the justices agree to hear the case — and if they do so without a replacement for Scalia — Paxton would need five votes to overturn the appeals court ruling. A 4-4 split would allow it to stand.
Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center and an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he did not expect the justices to accept the case, and he called the 5th Circuit’s decision “comprehensive.”
“It’s really more of a political move to satisfy the right wing of the Republican Party,” he said. “I think it’s just them taking another pile of taxpayer money and setting it on fire.”
The Supreme Court appeal will not affect the Nov. 8 elections, which will take place with relaxed requirements.
We’ve always known this was coming. The only issue that matters to Ken Paxton is his need to continually prove his wingnut bonafides to the Republican primary voters. He needs them to keep the faith in him at least until after the 2018 primaries. It doesn’t matter what SCOTUS does – if Paxton comes away from this with Justice Ginsberg’s shoeprints on his ass, I assure you he’ll be happy about it – all that matters is feeding the beast. Ken Paxton knows who his voters are, and he knows what they want. That’s all there is to this.