WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s voter ID law on Thursday, calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax” intended to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens that creates “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.”

In a 147-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama confirmed to the bench in 2011, ruled that the law passed by Texas legislators and signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) took an “unorthodox” approach they knew would have a disparate impact on minority voters. The law requires voters to produce government-issued identification before casting a ballot.

Continue reading:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/texas-voter-id_n_5962674.html

Related story from BloombergWisconsin Voter ID Law Blocked:

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — A divided U.S. Supreme Court yesterday blocked Wisconsin’s new voter photo-identification law, heeding calls from civil rights groups that said hasty implementation of the measure would mean widespread confusion in the Nov. 4 elections.

Those groups say a federal appeals court invited chaos by reviving the law in a Sept. 12 order. They say the state won’t be able to adequately train poll workers, educate voters and get IDs into the hands of the 300,000-plus people who qualify for them.

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  What stands out from these two rulings is that the District Court judge in the Texas case specifically identified discriminatory intent of the voter id law, and that two conservative justices – John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy – joined with the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices in the Wisconsin case.  While the nation’s highest court courts might still reinstate Texas’ voter id law – through the appeals process – before the midterm elections next month, the Wisconsin law will be on hold until afterwards.