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From second from right: Texas Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III participate in the March On for Washington and Voting Rights to call on the Senate to pass voting rights legislation. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Civil rights groups filed a slew of lawsuits in Texas on Tuesday, kicking off what is expected to be an extensive legal battle mere hours after Gov. Greg Abbott signed controversial voting restrictions into law.

Why it matters: Critics have denounced the new law as a dangerous voter suppression bill that will disproportionately impact communities of color. The bill drove Texas House Democrats to flee the state in protest, but after enough returned to resume quorum, the legislation went to Abbott's desk.

Driving the news: The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit shortly after the bill was signed, arguing it "intentionally targets and burdens methods and means of voting used by voters of color."

  • It bans 24-hour and drive-through voting, and establishes more stringent voter ID requirements for mail-in voting, among other provisions.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dechert LLP filed a separate suit in a state district court in Harris County on behalf of Texas State Conference of the NAACP and Common Cause Texas, among others.

  • "Texas legislators know exactly what they are trying to do – use brazen tactics to disenfranchise Black voters, Latinx voters, and other voters of color who are a growing part of the electorate and who turned out and made their voices heard in 2020," said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement.

Latino civil rights groups LULAC and Voto Latino also sued in a joint lawsuit with the Texas American Federation of Teachers and the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, alleging that the new measures "impose an undue burden on the right to vote."

  • The groups say the law violates the law by "purposely" restricting access for voters of color, disabled voters and people with limited English proficiency.

Worth noting: The law already faced legal challenges prior to signage.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include a lawsuit filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dechert LLP.

Go deeper

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

White House blasts Texas bill targeting trans youth in sports as "hateful"

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

A White House spokesperson on Tuesday condemned a Texas bill that would force public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, telling the Dallas Morning News the legislation is "hateful."

Why it matters: If passed, Texas would become the 10th state in the country to enact legislation banning transgender kids from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, per NBC News.

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