Veasey v. Abbott

Decision Date05 August 2015
Docket NumberNo. 14–41127.,14–41127.
PartiesMarc VEASEY ; Jane Hamilton; Sergio Deleon; Floyd Carrier; Anna Burns ; Michael Montez; Penny Pope; Oscar Ortiz; Koby Ozias; League of United Latin American Citizens; John Mellor–Crummey, Ken Gandy; Gordon Benjamin, Evelyn Brickner, Plaintiffs–Appellees Texas Association of Hispanic County Judges and County Commissioners, Intervenor Plaintiffs–Appellees v. Greg ABBOTT, in his Official Capacity as Governor of Texas; Carlos Cascos, Texas Secretary of State; State of Texas; Steve McCraw, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants–Appellants. United States of America, Plaintiff–Appellee Texas League of Young Voters, Education Fund; Imani Clark, Intervenor Plaintiffs–Appellees v. State of Texas; Carlos Cascos, Texas Secretary of State; Steve McCraw, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants–Appellants. Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches; Mexican American Legislative Caucus, Texas House Of Representatives, Plaintiffs–Appellees v. Carlos Cascos, Texas Secretary of State; Steve McCraw, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants–Appellants. Lenard Taylor ; Eulalio Mendez, Jr.; Lionel Estrada; Estela Garcia Espinosa; Margarito Martinez Lara; Maximina Martinez Lara; La Union del Pueblo Entero, Incorporated, Plaintiffs–Appellees v. State of Texas; Carlos Cascos, Texas Secretary of State; Steve McCraw, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants–Appellants.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

Chad Wilson Dunn, Esq. (argued), Brazil & Dunn, Houston, TX, Neil G. Baron, Dickinson, TX, Armand G. Derfuer, Esq., Derfner & Altman, L.L.C., Charleston, SC, J. Gerald Hebert, Esq., Alexandria, VA, Joshua James Bone, Campaign Legal Center, Washington, DC, for PlaintiffsAppellees Marc Veasey, Jane Hamilton, Sergio Deleon, Floyd Carrier, Anna Burns, Michael Montez, Penny Pope, Oscar Ortiz, Koby Ozias, League of United Latin American Citizens, John Mellor–Crumley, Dallas County, Texas, Ken Gandy, Gordon Benjamin and Evelyn Brickner.

Erin Helene Flynn, Esq. (argued), Anna Baldwin, Diana Katherine Flynn, Robert Acheson Koch, Christine Anne Monta, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, John Albert Smith, III, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Corpus Christi, TX, for PlaintiffAppellee United States of America.

Sherrilyn Ann Ifill, Leah Camille Aden, Esq., Ryan Paul Haygood, Natasha M. Korgaonkar, Esq., Janai S. Nelson, Esq., Deuel Ross, Christina A. Swams, Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., New York, N.Y., Kelly Patrick Dunbar, Sonya Ludmilla Lebsack, WilmerHale, Washington, DC, for Intervenor PlaintiffsAppellees Imani Clark and Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund.

Rolando Leo Rios, I, Esq., Law Office of Rolando L. Rios, San Antonio, TX, for Intervenor PlaintiffAppellee Texas Association of Hispanic County Judges and County Commissioners.

Preston Edward Henrichson, Esq., Law Offices of Preston Henrichson, P.C., Edinburg, TX, Rolando Leo Rios, I, Esq., Law Office of Rolando L. Rios, San Antonio, TX, for Intervenor PlaintiffAppellee Hidalgo County.

Ezra D. Rosenberg, Esq., Washington, DC, Amy Lynne Rudd, Senior Litigating Attorney, Lindsey Beth Cohan, Dechert, L.L.P., Austin, TX, Preston Edward Henrichson, Esq., Law Offices of Preston Henrichson, P.C., Edinburg, TX, Rolando Leo Rios, I, Esq., Law Office of Rolando L. Rios, San Antonio, TX, for Intervenor PlaintiffAppellee Mexican American Legislative Caucus–Texas House of Representatives.

Ezra D. Rosenberg, Esq., Washington, DC, Amy Lynne Rudd, Senior Litigating Attorney, Lindsey Beth Cohan, Dechert, L.L.P., Austin, TX, Vishal Agraharkar, Jennifer Clark, Brennan Center for Justice, New York, N.Y., for PlaintiffAppellee Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches.

Robert Wayne Doggett, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Incorporated, Austin, TX, Jose Garza, San Antonio, TX, Marinda van Dalen, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Incorporated, Brownsville, TX, for PlaintiffsAppellees Estela Garcia Espinosa, Lionel Estrada, LA Union Del Pueblo Entero, Incorporated, Margarito Martinez Lara, Maximina Martinez Lara, Eulalio Mendez, Jr. and Lenard Taylor.

Kerry William Kircher, Washington, DC, for MovantAppellee Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Alice London, Bishop, London & Dodds, Austin, TX, for MovantsAppellees Kirk P. Watson, Rodney Ellis, Juan Hinojosa, Jose Rodriguez, Carlos Uresti, Royce West, John Whitmire and Judith Zaffirini.

James Byron Eccles, Esq., Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Austin, TX, for MovantsAppellees Lon Burnam, Yvonne Davis, Jessica Farrar, Helen Giddings, Roland

Gutierrez, Borris Miles, Sergio Munoz, Jr., Ron Reynolds, Chris Turner and Armando Walle.

Arthur D'Andrea, Scott A. Keller, Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor General, Adam Warren Aston, J. Campbell Barker, Deputy Solicitor General, Matthew Hamilton Frederick, Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the Solicitor General for the State of Texas, John Barrett Scott, Austin, TX, for DefendantsAppellants Greg Abbott, in his Official Capacity as Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, in his Official Capacity as Governor of Texas, Texas Secretary of State, Nandita Berry, in her Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State, State of Texas, Steve McCraw.

Scott A. Keller (argued), Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor General, Austin, TX, for DefendantAppellant Carlos Cascos, in his Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State.

Lawrence John Joseph, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Eagle Forum Education And Legal Defense Fund.

Daniel B. Kohrman, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae American Association Of Retired Persons.

Martin Jonathan Siegel, Law Office of Martin J. Siegel P.C., Houston, TX, for Amici Curiae Mark White, former Texas Election Administrator, Dana Debeauvoir, former Texas Election Administrator, Oscar Villarreal and Carolyn Guidry.

Dale Edwin Ho, Director, Sean Young, New York, NY, Rebecca L. Robertson, Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Houston, TX, for Amici Curiae American Civil Liberties Union and American Civil Liberties of Texas.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, HAYNES, Circuit Judge, and BROWN, District Judge.*

Opinion

HAYNES, Circuit Judge:

In 2011, Texas (the State) passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14”), which requires individuals to present one of several forms of photo identification in order to vote. See Act of May 16, 2011, 82d Leg., R.S., ch. 123, 2011 Tex. Gen. Laws 619. Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality and legality of the law. The district court held that SB 14 was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose, has a racially discriminatory effect, is a poll tax, and unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote. See Veasey v. Perry, 71 F.Supp.3d 627, 633 (S.D.Tex.2014).

We VACATE and REMAND the Plaintiffs' discriminatory purpose claim for further consideration in light of the discussion below. If on remand the district court finds that SB 14 was passed with a discriminatory purpose, then the law must be invalidated. However, because the finding on remand may be different, we also address other arguments raised by the Plaintiffs. We AFFIRM the district court's finding that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and remand for consideration of the proper remedy. We VACATE the district court's holding that SB 14 is a poll tax and RENDER judgment in the State's favor. Because the same relief is available to Plaintiffs under the discriminatory effect finding affirmed herein, under the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, we do not address the merits of whether SB 14 unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We therefore VACATE this portion of the district court's opinion and DISMISS Plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment claims.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History
A. Senate Bill 14

Prior to the implementation of SB 14, a Texas voter could cast a ballot in person by presenting a registration certificate—a document mailed to voters upon registration. Tex. Elec.Code §§ 13.142, 63.001(b) (West 2010). Voters appearing without the certificate could cast a ballot by signing an affidavit and presenting one of multiple forms of identification (“ID”), including a current or expired driver's license, a photo ID (including employee or student IDs), a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, a government document showing the voter's name and address, or mail addressed to the voter from a government agency. Id. §§ 63.001, 63.0101 (West 2010).

With the implementation of SB 14, Texas began requiring voters to present certain specific forms of identification at the polls. These include: (1) a Texas driver's license or personal identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) that has not been expired for more than 60 days; (2) a U.S. military identification card with a photograph that has not been expired for more than 60 days; (3) a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo; (4) a U.S. passport that has not been expired for more than 60 days; (5) a license to carry a concealed handgun issued by DPS that has not been expired for more than 60 days; or (6) an Election Identification Certificate (“EIC”) issued by DPS that has not been expired for more than 60 days. Tex. Elec.Code § 63.0101 (West Supp.2014).1

SB 14 states that DPS “may not collect a fee for an [EIC] or a duplicate [EIC],” Tex. Transp. Code § 521A.001(b) (West 2013), and allows DPS to promulgate rules for obtaining an EIC. Id. § 521A.001(f) ; § 521.142. To receive an EIC, DPS rules require a registered voter to present either: (A) one form of primary ID, (B) two forms of secondary...

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  • N.C. State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory
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    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
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    ... ... Veasey v. Abbott , 796 F.3d 487, 504, 513 (5th Cir.2015), rehearing en banc granted , 815 F.3d 958 (5th Cir.2016). The district court found "that 608,470 ... ...
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    ... ... Raleigh Wake Citizens Ass'n , 166 F.Supp.3d at 600, 2016 WL 1060378, at *29. The only analogous case in the purported line of precedent, Veasey v. Abbott , 796 F.3d 487 (5th Cir. 2015), has been vacated and is thus no longer good law, 815 F.3d 958 (5th Cir. 2016) (granting rehearing en banc ... ...
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1 books & journal articles
  • Election Law Violations
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review No. 59-3, July 2022
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