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Texas Voter ID Suit Put on Hold Till Supreme Court Rules

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A federal court deferred further proceedings in a lawsuit filed by Texas over the state’s voter identification law until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether part of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional.

A three-judge panel in Washington said today that “in the interest of efficiency and judicial economy” it will wait for the Supreme Court to review a provision of the 1965 law requiring all or part of 16 mostly Southern states to get federal approval before changing their voting rules. The Texas suit challenges the same provision.

The judges today issued a final judgment on their earlier rejection of the identification law, allowing Texas to seek an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court.

The high court said Nov. 9 it would consider a case in which Shelby County, Alabama, objects to the formula in Section 5 for determining which jurisdictions must get pre-clearance of laws affecting voting qualifications and procedures. The court will hear arguments in the case on Feb. 27.

A Texas law requiring photo identification to vote was rejected by a three-judge panel in Washington on Aug. 30 after a nonjury trial. In order to issue a ruling before the November election, the panel held off on deciding Texas’s claim that Section 5 is unconstitutional.

The case is Texas v. Holder, 12-cv-00128, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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