By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a lower court decision that had struck down a Texas law requiring voters in the state to show certain forms of identification in order to cast a ballot.
The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request filed by the state asking for last week's ruling by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to be put on hold pending appeal.
Ramos wrote that the 2011 law, which was challenged by the administration of President Barack Obama and civil rights groups, was unlawful under a federal law called the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution in part because it discriminates against minority voters.
The appeals court decision means the law will be in effect during the upcoming November elections unless the plaintiffs persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the appeals court.
The law is one of a series enacted in Republican-governed states requiring voters to show certain forms of identification before being allowed to vote. Republicans say the measures are intended to curb voter fraud. Democrats say the laws are designed to reduce the turnout of certain groups of voters including minorities who tend to vote for Democratic candidates.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)