Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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Statement by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued the following statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the Voting Rights Act:

“The U.S. Constitution establishes one United States — not a divided nation with different laws applying to different states. Laws that apply unequally to just some states have no place in our nation. Today’s ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect.

“Today's ruling does not abolish the Voting Rights Act. All states, including Texas, continue to be subject to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, which prohibit racial discrimination nationwide.

“With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Media links
U.S. Supreme Court Voting Rights Act opinion

Key excerpts from today’s decision:

“While one State waits months or years and expends funds to implement a validly enacted law, its neighbor can typically put the same law into effect immediately, through the normal legislative process.”

“Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare §4(b) unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

“Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned nationwide for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in the covered States have risen dramatically in the years since. Racial disparity in those numbers was compelling evidence justifying the preclearance remedy and the coverage formula. There is no longer such a disparity.”

“States must beseech the Federal Government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have the right to enact and execute on their own...”