Texas NAACP v. Steen (consolidated with Veasey v. Perry)
On September 17, 2013, the Brennan Center and co-counsel filed suit in federal court challenging S.B. 14, Texas’s strict photo voter ID law on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives (MALC).
Texas SB 14 was originally enacted in 2011. It is one of the strictest photo ID laws in the nation, requiring voters to present photo identification from a very limited list before being allowed to vote. The law allows Texans to vote with a Texas concealed handgun license, but not with an ID from a public university or a tribal identification card. The law’s strict requirements disproportionately prevent certain groups of voters, including African-American and Latino citizens, from voting in person.
In 2011, the Brennan Center and others filed a successful suit in federal court to block implementation of SB 14 under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The three-judge court unanimously found that the law discriminated against minority voters.
In 2013, the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder, and by a 5-4 vote rendered Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act inoperable. Within hours, Texas announced that it would implement SB 14. Accordingly, this lawsuit is brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the United States Constitution, and requests ”bail-in” so that Texas will have to obtain preclearance for future changes to its voting practices. On July 2, 2014, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the Southern District of Texas denied Texas’s motion to dismiss Texas NAACP and MALC from the case, allowing their claims to proceed. The trial begins September 2nd.
In addition to the Brennan Center, the attorneys representing the plaintiffs are the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Law Offices of Jose Garza, the national office of the NAACP, Law Office of Robert S. Notzon, Potter Bledsoe L.L.P., Dechert LLP, and The Law Offices of William Bonilla, P.C.
- Complaint (09/17/2013) [PDF]
- Motion to Dismiss by State of Texas (10/25/13) [PDF]
- Response to Motion to Dismiss by Texas NAACP and MALC (11/22/13) [PDF]
- Order to Compel Production of Legislators’ Documents (4/03/2014) [PDF]
- Proposed Trial Protocol Advisory (4/14/2014) [PDF]
- Joint Brief in Opposition to Texas' Motion to Squash Subpoenas of Legislators (4/29/2014) [PDF]
- Joint Response by Plaintiffs in Opposition to Texas’ Request for Judicial Notice (5/13/2014) [PDF]
- Order on Legislative Privilege Issue (06/18/2014) [PDF]
- Order on Motions to Dismiss (07/02/2014) [PDF]
Pleadings from Consolidated Cases
United States of America v. Texas
- Motion to Intervene by Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund and Imani Clark (8/26/13) [PDF]
- Complaint (8/22/13) [PDF]
Veasey v. Perry
- Complaint (6/26/13) [PDF]
- Preclearance Letters Regarding Texas and South Carolina Voter ID Laws
- Collected Research and Publications on Voter ID
- Texas Legislators Forced to Turn Over Emails in Voter ID Lawsuit, Ryan Reilly, Huffington Post (April 7, 2014)
- Houstonians Without Voter Id Are Mostly Black and Poor, Angelica Leicht, Houston Press (August 26, 2014)
- Texas Voter ID Law Goes to Trial, Pam Fessler, NPR (August 29, 2014)
- Texas Voter ID Trial Begins as Elections Ramp Up, Paul J. Weber, Associated Press (August 30, 2014)
- 2 Sides Cite Discrimination as Battle on Texas Voting Laws Heads to Court, Manny Fernandez, the New York Times (September 1, 2014)
- Sky-high Stakes in Texas Voter ID Trial, Zachary Roth, MSNBC (September 2, 2014)