The state’s controversial voter ID law will remain in place, at least for now. Friday morning the United States Supreme Court decided to temporarily leave the law on the books.

The decision comes after civil right’s groups asked the justices to step in during the ongoing legal battle. Since it became law in 2011, several courts have mulled over whether it’s discriminatory.

The law is the strictest voter ID law currently on the books in any state. In order to vote, you have to present a certain type of photo ID on Election Day.

Critics say it hurts lower income and minority voters from taking part in the process. Proponents maintain it protects the integrity of Texas elections.

The law was passed by the Texas legislature in 2011 and signed by then Governor Rick Perry. Since then it’s had a long and complicated history. After a district court ruled against the state in 2014, the law made its way to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. There a 3-judge panel agreed with the district court saying the law had a discriminatory effect.

Before the district court could offer a remedy, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked for a full panel review in the 5th Circuit.

In the meantime, the law has stayed in effect, prompting civil rights groups to ask the Supreme Court to step in.

After declining to do so Friday, Attorney General Paxton praised the decision and issued the following statement:


“Texas enacted a common-sense law to provide simple protections to the integrity of our elections and the democratic process in our state,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “We appreciate the Supreme Court allowing the law to remain in effect at this time and look forward to defending the merits of our case in front of the entire Fifth Circuit next month.”


The Supreme Court is putting pressure on the 5th Circuit to make a decision by July 20th to allow enough time for any changes before the November elections. If they don’t rule by then, the justices could reconsider stepping in.

The full 5th Circuit Appeals Court will hold a new hearing on the law next month.