The Division of Justice has just dropped out of a portion of a voting rights lawsuit in Texas that could signal a shift in stance on the situation considering the fact that Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general.
The case at the heart of this newest legal drama centers on voter identification laws that have been place in spot in Texas in 2011 that require voters to have one particular of seven forms of ID. The law was controversial mainly because voting rights groups -- and the DOJ under the Obama administration -- argued that the law discriminated against minorities who may possibly not have those varieties of ID.
Prior to nowadays, the DOJ had been functioning with a quantity of voting rights advocacy groups, such as the Brennan Center for Justice, in bringing the suit against the state of Texas over the legality of the voter ID needs.
Now, nevertheless, the DOJ has withdrawn from aspect of the lawsuit, and even though the suit will carry on mainly because of the other advocacy groups that are element of the case, it is being noticed as a achievable shift in policy.
"I have no explanation to think that this will impact the outcome of this case, but it is a disturbing signal from the Department of Justice," mentioned Wendy Weiser, the director of the Brennan Center's democracy system.
Weiser explained that there are essentially two various parts of the lawsuit: The 1st is that the voter ID law in Texas did discriminate against minority voters (that is, the impact of the law), although the second element asserted that the law's intention was to discriminate against minority voters (that is, the intent of the law).
In today's filing, the DOJ withdrew from that remaining aspect of the suit that argues that the voter ID laws had been intentionally discriminatory.
Justice Department spokesman Mark Abueg said the agency was preparing a short detailing its rationale for the move, according to The Connected Press.
The case will continue with the other groups involved in arguing the lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
"The Division of Justice, for a pretty long time, has been arguing that Texas intentionally discriminated, and has built a extremely powerful case," Weiser stated.
"There clearly has been a shift in the department's position and technique in the new administration. Beforehand, it was vigorously prosecuting the intent claim, and now it is stepping back from enforcing that claim, so there's a actual worry that this could signal a retrenchment in voting rights enforcement by the Department of Justice and it really is surely a retrenchment in this distinct case," she added.
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