On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]
But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.
Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."
The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)
We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.
Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.
And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)