VI. Legal Updates
Alabama: A three-judge federal court panel has blocked Alabama from using in next year's elections 12 legislative districts challenged as unconstitutional by black political groups. The districts are part of the district map drawn and approved by the Republican-led Alabama Legislature after the 2010 Census and were used in the 2014 election.
Indiana: Judge Sarah Evans Barker has granted the ACLU of Indiana’s motion for summary judgement in a suit the organization brought against the state’s ballot selfie ban. The ACLU argued that the law violated a voter’s First Amendment rights. “Simply put, the State has failed to establish that Indiana suffers from any substantial ongoing vote-buying problem(s) in need of the statutory protections imposed by this statute, much less any problem(s) emanating from or pertaining to the use of digital photography in facilitation vote buying.”
Kansas: The American Civil Liberties Union wants a federal court for force Secretary of State Kris Kobach to turn over documents he was photographed bringing to a meeting with the then-president elect. According to WIBW, some of the visible words suggest they detailed proposed changes to voter registration laws.
Texas: The U.S. Department of Justice requested, and has received a postponement in a scheduled hearing over the state’s voter ID law. "Because of the change in administration, the Department of Justice also experienced a transition in leadership," the Justice Department petition states. "The United States requires additional time to brief the new leadership of the Department on this case and the issues to be addressed at that hearing before making any representations to the Court." The hearing has been delayed until Feb. 28. Also this week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from officials in the Lone Star State to restore the voter ID law. Although no reason was given, Chief Justice John Roberts did say that the court is free to consider the case after further proceedings in the lower courts.
Also in the Lone Star State, the Texas Civil Rights Project is asking the U.S. District Court in San Antonio to hold the state in contempt of court for failing to hand over documents in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the state’s compliance with the Motor Voter Law.
In other Texas legal news, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Pasadena voting rights case on February 1.