A law professor calls out Texas to Sen. Ted Cruz's face when he asks if voter ID laws are ‘racist’

A law professor calls out Texas to Sen. Ted Cruz's face when he asks if voter ID laws are ‘racist’
Sen. Ted Cruz // Screengrab

When a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on voting rights this week, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas forcefully grilled law professor Franita Tolson. The far-right Republican senator has been an aggressive supporter of GOP-sponsored voter suppression laws, vehemently denying that there is anything racist about them. And when Cruz asked Tolson, who teaches at the University of Southern California, to name a state where voter ID laws are racist, she pointed to his as an example.

Cruz asked Tolson, "In your judgement, are voting ID laws racist?" — to which she replied, "It depends." And when Cruz wanted to know which ones in particular she considers racist, Tolson responded, "Apologies, Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas, perhaps."

Cruz told Tolson, "OK, so you think the entire state of Texas is racist" — and the USC law professor clarified, "I'm not saying the entire state of Texas is racist…. The voter ID law was put into place to diminish the power of Latinos, with racist intent."

Cruz asked her what the evidence for this claim was, and she quickly had an answer: A federal district court ruled that the voter ID law was enacted for an "unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." Cruz had no response to this reply, so he just moved on.

The hearing was titled, "Restoring the Voting Rights Act: Combating Discriminatory Abuses."

Here are some responses to Tolson's testimony:

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