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Federal Court Rejects Texas Voter ID law

Neil R (cc) flickr

A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.

A three-judge panel in Washington unanimously ruled that the law imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.

The decision involves an increasingly contentious political issue: a push, largely by Republican-controlled legislatures and governors' offices, to impose strict identification requirements on voters. Texas' voter ID rules, approved in 2011, had been widely cheered by conservatives statewide.

Thursday's ruling almost certainly prevents the Texas law from going into effect for the November election. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the case, the Justice Department called several Democratic lawmakers who said they detected a clear racial motive in the push for the voter ID law. Republican testified that the legislation was the result of popular demand for more election protections.

Just David Tatel, writing for the panel, called the Texas law "the most stringent in the nation." He said it would impose a heavier burden on voters than a similar law in Indiana, previously upheld by the Supreme Court, and one in Georgia, which the Justice Department allowed to take effect without objection.

The ruling comes two days after a separate federal three-judge panel ruled that Texas' Republican dominated state Legislature did not draw new congressional and state Senate district maps "without discriminatory purposes."


Texas West Nile cases more than double in 2 weeks

Dallas County has reported its 13th death from West Nile Virus – a man in his late 40s in Rowlett.

That and a death reported yesterday in Panola County bring the state’s death toll to 35.

Dr. Lyle Peterson of the Centers for Disease Control said the number of West Nile Cases and deaths in Texas have more than doubled in the past two weeks, and he expects more cases will be reported.

"At this time, as I look at the data, I’m not convinced that we have peaked. We may have plateaued, but I’m not convinced that we have peaked," Peterson said.

Dr. Janet McAllister from the Center for Disease Control will present a report on mosquito control efforts today at 4 p.m. Mayor Mike Rawlings and County Judge Clay Jenkins will join her at county headquarters. 

Texas Department of State Health Services said yesterday that 894 cases had been reported so far this year, up from a count of 336 on August 16th.

Lyndsay Knecht, KERA News

Fort Hood shooting suspect explains beard to judge

The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage has told a judge that he grew a beard because his Muslim faith requires it.

Speaking in court for the first time since showing up with a beard in violation of Army regulations in June, Maj. Nidal Hasan says he isn't trying to disrespect the authority of the judge.

Thursday's hearing before Col. Gregory Gross was the first since an appeals court stopped proceedings to consider the dispute over Hasan's beard.

Gross held Hasan in contempt for a sixth time and sent him to a nearby room to watch the rest of the proceedings on closed-circuit television.

Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 attack that killed 13 and wounded more than two dozen others.

Irving man gets death for 2011 double slaying

A Dallas-area man has been sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her 18-year-old daughter during a jealous rage.

A Dallas County jury on Wednesday decided on the death penalty for 39-year-old Tyrone Cade of Irving. Jurors last week rejected an insanity defense and convicted Cade of capital murder in the 2011 attack.

The victims were 37-year-old Mischell Fuller and Desaree Hoskins.

Investigators say Cade on March 27, 2011, walked into a police station and confessed to killing the women. Officers went to Cade's home and located the bodies.

Authorities say Fuller and Cade had argued over a conversation she allegedly had with her ex-husband.