Federal court strikes down Texas voter ID law
August 30th, 2012
04:35 PM ET

Federal court strikes down Texas voter ID law

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer

Washington (CNN) - A federal appeals court in Washington Thursday struck down the Texas voter ID law requiring photos for voters at the polls, calling it racially discriminatory.

The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration and its Democratic allies, which had challenged the law.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott promptly announced the state will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed the voter ID measure into law last year, but it had yet not gone into effect because the federal Voting Rights Act requires changes in Texas voting laws to be pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department.

Attorney General Eric Holder denied the pre-clearance of the measure in March, concluding that Texas failed to show the law will not have "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race."

The three-judge panel agreed.

Although the law provides for approved voter registration certificates with no photo as acceptable for voting in certain circumstances, the court said the law imposes "strict unforgiving burdens on the poor." The court noted the requirements will fall heavily on African-Americans and Hispanics, who make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor in Texas.

The panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also said it was ruling only on the Texas law, and not issuing a statement about other state voting laws. It noted the Justice Department had approved a Georgia voter ID law in which the state promised to provide free photo ID cards to citizens who request them.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Discrimination • How we live • Politics • Race • Where we live
August 30th, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Opinion: GOP needs street credibility on diversity

Editor's note: Sophia A. Nelson is a columnist and political analyst. She is the author of "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama."

By Sophia A. Nelson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Let’s get right to it: The Republican National Convention has struggled with balancing imagery and tone when it comes to the matter of its lack of diversity and inclusion.

This is nothing new.

However, what has struck this former lifelong Republican-turned-independent is that the convention has staked its future on “nostalgia” versus “newness.”

Republicans, including a rousing speech by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are asking Americans to look back, to remember who we were and to remember what made us great.

Not a bad thing I guess if you are over 50, white, from the South or Midwest and feel like the America you once loved has gone to hell in a handbasket.

The problem with this vision, for many Americans, is that it is not inspirational.  It does not invoke a new frontier, a new way forward. It does not offer a way out of the pain and distress that the Great Recession has had on people of color.

Communities of color look for candidates who can relate to their unique American experience: hence the great success of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama versus the lackluster support for Al Gore and John Kerry.

Opinion: GOP, big tent or big mess?

The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan vision is a pragmatic, reasonable business approach to problem-solving. Good stuff if you are working in corporate America or on Wall Street. Not so much if you are on Main Street and need to feel comfortable with the guy who sits in the Oval Office.

Republicans have a “message” problem and are unable to connect with communities of color, and they also have a “messenger" problem. Here is my advice on how they can gain credibility with these communities.  FULL POST

August 30th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

'Gen Xer' Paul Ryan takes up GOP torch, makes case to young voters

By Halimah Abdullah and Allison Brennan, CNN

Tampa (CNN) - Paul Ryan symbolizes for many Republicans of his generation a passing of the torch and a call to embrace the Reagan-era principles that appealed so strongly to young voters in the 1980s.

The Wisconsin congressman evoked both when he took the stage on Wednesday night and delivered a prime-time acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention that skewered what the GOP sees as President Barack Obama's failed economic policies.

With Ryan, 42, holding down the No. 2 spot, the ticket hopes to strengthen his Generation X demographic ahead of November and broaden the campaign's appeal to a wealth of younger voters, a much more challenging prospect.

During his speech, Ryan spoke directly to young voters' economic concerns.

"Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can't find the work they studied for, or any work at all," Ryan told the crowd. "So here's the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?"

The first Gen Xers were eligible to vote for Ronald Reagan's second term at the height of his popularity and his conservative dogma. Younger voters for Reagan, the oldest U.S. president ever inaugurated, were among his strongest supporters.

It was not known then that Reagan's political aura and his mantra for smaller government and lower taxes would endure well into the next century. Nostalgia for Reagan is powerful. His views remain a litmus test for Republicans seeking national office.

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