The State of Texas filed its jurisdiction statement in the Supreme Court today asking the court to accept the Texas voter ID case for oral argument next term.
In the short filing, the state told the Supreme Court it should not take any action in the voter ID case until after the court decides the constitutionality of section 5 in the Shelby County case (set for argument on February 27).
If the high court upholds the facial constitutionality of section 5, then the state told the court that “it should note probable jurisdiction and set the case for plenary review. The state’s filing said:
This case implicates a number of important issues regarding the scope of Section 5, including but not limited to: (1) whether Section 5 is unconstitutional when it is used to block legislation in a covered jurisdiction that closely resembles facially valid legislation in a non-covered jurisdiction; (2) whether photo-identification laws such as SB 14 - which impose minimal burdens no different from the burdens of advance registration or in-person voting- ‘deny’ or ‘abridge’ the right to vote; and (3) whether a court can deny preclearance based on a novel theory of retrogression that rests on socioeconomic disparate-impact analysis, even when there is no evidence of an actual racial disparity.
In raising constitutional questions, the state’s filing jumps somewhat ahead of the D.C. panel, which placed constitutional questions on a separate track and has yet to rule on those issues (more background here).
Lawyers for the Justice Department and intervenors will have 30 days after the case is docketed to file a motion to dismiss the appeal or to have the decision below summarily affirmed.
The state’s requested schedule effectively ensures that the voter ID law will not be in place for May 2013 local elections and makes it doubtful whether it could be put in place in time for November 2013 constitutional and local government elections and possibly the March 2014 Texas primary as well. Unless, of course, section 5 gets struck down in Shelby.