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Tue Oct 27, 2020, 07:44 PM

Voter suppression in Texas is made possible by Trump's judges

Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Governor Greg Abbott's order to limit the number of drop off locations for mail-in ballots to one per county. Harris County had planned for 12 drop-off locations, which were already too few locations for a county our size. But now we will see that number cut to one. Chris Hollins, the Harris County Clerk, called the Abbott order "prejudicial and dangerous."

As a Texan, it's disappointing that we've come to expect these kinds of attacks on voting rights from our governor. In recent years, we've seen the forced closure of polling places, the criminalization of voting, and a failed purge of the voter rolls. But now we face a new obstacle: federal judges - groomed by conservative ideologues - who are intent on stripping us of our most basic rights.

Trump's theft of the judiciary hasn't gotten the coverage or attention it deserves. All three judges - Judges Kyle Duncan, Don Willett, and James Ho - who ruled in favor of Abbott's voter suppression plan were appointed by Trump. To date, Trump has appointed over 200 new judges to the federal bench, including more than one-third of the judges serving on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump's heist of the federal courts may well be his enduring legacy.

The common thread that links Trump's judicial picks is their experience representing large and powerful institutions. The vast majority have worked as corporate lawyers, prosecutors, or government officials. This holds true with Judges Duncan, Willett, and Ho, all of whom spent key parts of their legal career in the Texas Attorney General's Office or the U.S. Department of Justice. As a point of contrast, the number of civil rights attorneys, public defenders, and advocates for the people that Trump has appointed can be counted on one hand.


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