So what does a federal court rejecting Texas' new voter ID law mean for the one here in Pa? Probably nothing.
Election expert Rick Hasen from Cal-Irvine first gets into why the court rejected it:
Using this simple structure, the court concludes that Texas, which bears the burden of proof in a section 5 case, cannot prove its law won’t make the position of protected minorities worse off. And the court suggests this was a problem of its own making: Texas could have made the i.d. law less onerous (as in Georgia, which the court suggests DOJ was probably right to preclear) and Texas could have done more to produce evidence supporting its side at trial, but it engaged in bad trial tactics.
Will it go next to the US Supreme Court?
Texas is likely to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, and I would expect to see an application for an emergency injunction allowing Texas to use its voter id law during the upcoming election. If this happens, this will be a major question for the Roberts Court, and it would have to be decided in short order. Given the closeness to the election, it is not clear to me that even if the Supreme Court disagrees on some of the analysis with the district court that it would grant such emergency relief. This is a big unknown.
And to the question on other states:
The court was very careful to show that not all voter id laws are created equal, that states may have ample good reasons to impose voter id laws, and that such laws can be put in place in ways which do not discriminate against minority voters. Not only did the court suggest that Georgia’s voter id law was probably ok; the analysis here could well be key in how the separate district court hearing the challenge to South Carolina’s voter id law will resolve that case. It is certainly possible that South Carolina’s law could be precleared, especially given some key concessions this week at trial.