Our Work On Judicial Nominations Pays Off

Friday, August 3, 2012
Our Work On Judicial Nominations Pays Off

Before you check out for the weekend we wanted to make sure you saw this BIG news about how your work has a lasting effect.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregg Costa made a ruling yesterday protecting civic groups’ right to engage and register Texas voters. Costa ruled in favor of plaintiff Project Vote and its affiliate in Voting for America v. Andrade and ordered the state of Texas to stop enforcing certain laws that restrict voter registration drives.

Judge Costa stated, "Voter registration drives have played a vital role in increasing participation in the political process. This is especially true in minority communities with historically lower rates of voter registration. Census figures indicate that a significant percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics voting in the last presidential election registered through voter registration drives and other third-party voter registration activities.”

While the ruling itself is exciting, it also highlights the work Progress Texas has been doing to push for progressive judicial nominees to fill the judicial vacancies plaguing Texas.

Judge Gregg Costa was one of the first nominees we pushed to get confirmed when we launched the Texans for a Fair Judiciary coalition. Costa's confirmation and ruling is a clear example of why our courts matter and why we continue to fight for progressive judicial nominees.

Here are the details of how this all happened:

  • On September 8, 2011, President Obama nominated Costa to the seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • On December 2, 2011, Progress Texas launched the Texans For A Fair Judiciary (TFJ) coalition. The coalition included Texans For Public Justice, Texas Together, Equality Texas, National Council of Jewish Women, Texas Freedom Network, La Fe, Texas Watch, and Texas League of Conservation Voters.
  • At the time of TFJ's launch in early December, Costa's confirmation had been pending for 86 days.
  • Then, you all took action:

o 4,975 of you contacted Senators Cornyn and Hutchison directly.

o 30 of you submitted letters to the editors to your local papers.

o Hundreds of you called Senators Cornyn and Hutchison office moments before critical votes.

  • On April 26, 2012, Costa's nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate by a 97-2 vote 232 days after his nomination was submitted by President Obama.
  • On August 2, 2012, Judge Gregg Costa ruled in favor of plaintiff Project Vote and its affiliate in Voting for America v. Andrade and ordered the state of Texas to stop enforcing certain laws that restrict voter registration drives.

Let's be clear. This is a big deal

"“[This] ruling means that community groups and organizations like Voting for America and Project Vote will be able to run community voter registration drives in Texas. These drives are important to reaching the millions of Texans, including half a million African-American and three-quarters of a million Latinos who are eligible but still not registered to vote,” says Chad Dunn.

You made this happen. Don't doubt for a second the influence you can have and the change we can make. Together we are going to communicate progressive values in Texas and we will change the direction of our state.

To learn more about this issue, go to our website. If you haven't yet, tell John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison this issue is important to you.

In the meantime, thank you for your vigilance and never-give-up attitude.

Sincerely,

Matt Glazer
Progress Texas

P.S. We try to not ask for money too often, and we know we recently asked, but if you love seeing victories like this, become a sustaining donor or chip in a few dollars with a one-time contribution. Our operations are funded completely through donations and we can only continue this work with your support.

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