Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has set oral arguments for January 24, 2017, to determine whether Texas enacted its Voter ID law with “discriminatory purpose.” In doing so, the court rejected the state’s arguments for why action on the discriminatory purpose should be postponed: to permit the Legislature to address the Voter ID law during the upcoming session and to permit the state to pursue its appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court determined that waiting on the Legislature to address the law during the session is not necessary because evaluating the intent behind the Voter ID law “can be determined only by evidence of events at or before the time of the enactment.” The court also stated that it “has a duty to the parties to proceed” during the state’s appeal “until this Court is divested of jurisdiction to proceed” by the high court. “Defendants have adequate time to initiate their appeal and obtain a stay” of the district court’s proceedings.
Initial briefs are due November 18, and reply briefs are due December 16. Briefs should address the “discriminatory purpose issue only and shall not include the issue of remedies to be imposed if discriminatory purpose is found.”