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Veasey v. Perry

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Opinion of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Veasey v. Perry allowing Texas Voter ID Law to go forward pending appeal
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  IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 14-41127 MARC VEASEY; JANE HAMILTON; SERGIO DELEON; FLOYD CARRIER;  ANNA BURNS; MICHAEL MONTEZ; PENNY POPE; OSCAR ORTIZ; KOBY OZIAS; LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS; JOHN MELLOR-CRUMLEY; DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS, Plaintiffs - Appellees TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF HISPANIC COUNTY JUDGES AND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, Intervenor Plaintiffs - Appellees v. RICK PERRY, in his Official Capacity as Governor of Texas; NANDITA BERRY, in her Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State; STATE OF TEXAS; STEVE MCGRAW, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants - Appellants -------------------------------------------------------- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee TEXAS LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS EDUCATION FUND; IMANI CLARK, Intervenor Plaintiffs - Appellees v. STATE OF TEXAS; NANDITA BERRY, in her Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State; STEVE MCGRAW, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED October 14, 2014 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Case: 14-41127 Document: 00512802898 Page: 1 Date Filed: 10/14/2014  No. 14-41127 Defendants - Appellants -------------------------------------------------------- TEXAS STATE CONFERENCE OF NAACP BRANCHES; MEXICAN  AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS, TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Plaintiffs - Appellees v. NANDITA BERRY, in her Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State; STEVE MCGRAW, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants - Appellants ---------------------------------------------------------- LENARD TAYLOR; EULALIO MENDEZ, JR.; LIONEL ESTRADA; ESTELA GARCIA ESPINOSA; MARGARITO MARTINEZ LARA; MAXIMINA MARTINEZ LARA; LA UNION DEL PUEBLO ENTERO, INCORPORATED, Plaintiffs - Appellees v. STATE OF TEXAS; NANDITA BERRY, in her Official Capacity as Texas Secretary of State; STATE OF TEXAS; STEVE MCGRAW, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Defendants - Appellants  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Before CLEMENT, HAYNES, and COSTA, Circuit Judges. EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, Circuit Judge: 2 Case: 14-41127 Document: 00512802898 Page: 2 Date Filed: 10/14/2014  No. 14-41127 Early voting in Texas begins on Monday, October 20. On Saturday, October 11—just nine days before early voting begins and just 24 days before Election Day—the district court entered a final order striking down Texas’s voter identification laws. By this order, the district court enjoined the implementation of Texas Senate Bill 14 (“SB 14”) of the 2011 Regular Session, which requires that voters present certain photographic identification at the polls. The district court also ordered that the State of Texas (“State”) instead implement the laws that were in force before SB 14’s enactment in May of 2011. Based primarily on the extremely fast-approaching election date, we STAY the district court’s judgment pending appeal. I. SB 14 was signed into law on May 27, 2011, and its voter identification requirements became effective on January 1, 2012. 2011 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. Ch. 123 (West) (S.B. 14). These requirements have been implemented in at least three prior elections. On June 26, 2013, this lawsuit challenging SB 14 was filed. On Thursday, October 9, 2014 the district court foreshadowed its ultimate  judgment, issuing an opinion saying that it intended to enjoin SB 14. The lengthy, 143-page opinion followed a nine-day bench trial. The district court opined that SB 14 is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act. But it did not issue a final judgment. On Friday, October 10, the State filed an advisory requesting that the district court enter a final, appealable judgment. When the district court declined to do so by close of business on Friday, October 10, the State filed a petition for writ of mandamus or, in the alternative, an emergency motion for stay pending appeal. Upon the entry of the district court’s final judgment on Saturday, October 11, the State also filed a notice of appeal. Accordingly, we 3 Case: 14-41127 Document: 00512802898 Page: 3 Date Filed: 10/14/2014  No. 14-41127 construed the State’s motion as an emergency motion for stay pending appeal and ordered that responses be filed within 24 hours. Five responses were filed. II.  A stay pending appeal “simply suspends judicial alteration of the status quo.” Nken v. Holder , 556 U.S. 418, 429 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted). We consider four factors in deciding a motion to stay pending appeal: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies. Id.  at 426. “The first two factors of the traditional standard are the most critical.” Id.  at 434. III. This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election. The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.  A. The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed courts to carefully consider the importance of preserving the status quo on the eve of an election. In the similar context of determining whether to issue an injunction, 1  the 1   See Nken, 556 U.S .  at 434 (“[T]here is substantial overlap between [the factors governing stays pending appeal] and the factors governing preliminary injunctions; not because the two are one and the same, but because similar concerns arise whenever a court order may allow or disallow anticipated action before the legality of that action has been conclusively determined.” (internal citation omitted)). 4 Case: 14-41127 Document: 00512802898 Page: 4 Date Filed: 10/14/2014
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