Opponents ask U.S. Supreme Court to block Texas voter ID law

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 10:10 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Civil rights lawyers on Wednesday asked a U.S. Supreme Court justice to block a Texas law requiring voters in the state to show certain forms of identification in order to cast a ballot.

The move comes after a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a lower court decision that had struck down the law, meaning the measure would be in effect for the November elections if the Supreme Court does not intervene.

The request, made to Justice Anton Scalia, was filed by lawyers representing various plaintiffs who challenged the law, including the League of United Latin American Citizens.

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.

The court papers were filed with Scalia because he has responsibility for handling emergency applications that arise from states covered by the 5th Circuit.

The district court judge 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 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)