An Important Election Eve Decision from a Federal Judge in Texas

The Story:

Conservative activists asked a federal judge Monday morning to rule that the County Clerk in Harris County, Texas (which includes the City of Houston) acted illegally in allowing drive-through voting as a means of early voting under the conditions of the pandemic. They were asking him in effect to throw out 127,000 ballots cast that way at the drive-through voting sites in the City. They lost. Judge Andrew Hanen said the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the lawsuit.


Judge Hanen was nominated to the federal district court for the Southern District of Texas in January 2002, by President George W. Bush (R), and was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 97 to 0 that May.

Judge Hanen had been in the national spotlight during the Obama administration as one of the harsher judicial critics of the “Dreamers” program, the deferral of deportation for childhood arrivals in the United States. He might have been thought a sympathetic ear for an argument advanced by political allies of President Donald Trump.But judicial opinions do not always follow stereotypical political lines.

The Thing to Know:

Houston is a ‘blue’ spot within the generally ‘red’ state of Texas. The disenfranchisement of 127,000 voters there would almost certainly have helped President Trump’s re-election efforts.


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