U.S. will al­ter op­po­si­tion to voter-ID law

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

AUSTIN, Texas — The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump plans to aban­don a fed­eral gov­ern­ment stance in op­po­si­tion to Texas’ tough­est-in-the-na­tion voter-ID law, a U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman said Mon­day.

It’s a break from the po­si­tion taken by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, which ar­gued that the 2011 voter-ID law was in­tended to dis­en­fran­chise poor and mi­nor­ity-group vot­ers.

The law passed by Texas’ Repub­li­can-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture re­quires vot­ers to show one of seven forms of state-ap­proved photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion — gun per­mits are ac­cept­able, but col­lege IDs are not. Vot­ing-rights ac­tivists sued, and the case re­turns to court to­day in Cor­pus Christi, Texas, be­fore U.S. District Judge Nelva Gon­za­les Ramos.

Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman Mark Abueg said the agency was pre­par­ing a brief de­tail­ing its ra­tio­nale for the move. He said that although the Jus­tice Depart­ment will no longer ar­gue that the law was in­tended to dis­crim­i­nate against mi­nor­ity groups, the depart­ment doesn’t plan to with­draw from a part of the law­suit that ar­gues that the law had the ef­fect of dis­crim­i­nat­ing against them.

A fed­eral ap­peals court last year ruled that the Texas law was dis­crim­i­na­tory and or­dered changes ahead of the Novem­ber elec­tion. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court de­clined a Texas ap­peal that sought to re­store the law, but Chief Jus­tice John Roberts left the door open for an­other ap­peal at a later time.

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