WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has allowed Texas to use its strict voter ID law in the November election even after a federal judge said the law was the equivalent of a poll tax and threatened to deprive many blacks and Latinos of the right to vote this year.
Like earlier orders in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, the justices' action before dawn on Saturday, two days before the start of early voting in Texas, appears to be based on their view that changing the rules so close to an election would be confusing.
Of the four states, only Wisconsin's new rules were blocked, and in that case, absentee ballots already had been mailed without any notice about the need for identification.
Texas has conducted several low-turnout elections under the new rules — seven forms of approved photo ID, including concealed handgun licenses, but not college student IDs. The law has not previously been used in congressional elections or a high-profile race for governor.
The Supreme Court's brief unsigned order, like those in the other three states, offers no explanation for its action. In this case, the Justice Department and civil rights groups were asking that the state be prevented from requiring the photo ID in the Nov. 4 election, where roughly 600,000 voters, disproportionately black and Latino, lack acceptable forms of ID.
Man loses wife, 4 kids and father in fire
MCKEESPORT, Pa. — The sole survivor of a deadly house fire in western Pennsylvania lost his new wife, her four young children and his disabled father in the Saturday morning blaze after the recently married couple tried to save their loved ones, family members said.
The fire in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKeesport claimed the lives of Hope Jordan and four children ages 2 to 7, as well as the surviving victim's paralyzed father, according to family members.
Keith Egenlauf was hospitalized with burns over 55 percent of his body from the fast-moving fire that erupted shortly before 7 a.m., according to his aunt, Donna Ackerman. Egenlauf was in critical condition in the burn unit at UPMC Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh, according to a nursing supervisor.
Egenlauf and Jordan, whose Facebook page indicated they were married Dec. 7, initially escaped the flames but went back into the burning two-story house to try to save Jordan's children and Egenlauf's 56-year-old father, Ronald Edward Egenlauf, Ackerman said.
Relatives identified the children as Jordan's son and three daughters: Dominic Jordan, 7; Autumn Jordan, 6; Serenity Jakub, 3; and Victoria Jakub, 2.
Indian schools can't escape tainted legacy
WINSLOW, Ariz. — Federally owned schools for Native Americans on reservations are marked by remoteness, extreme poverty and a lack of construction dollars. They also are among the nation's lowest performing.
The Obama administration is pushing ahead with an improvement plan that gives tribes more control. But the effort is complicated by the disrepair of so many buildings, not to mention the federal legacy of forcing American Indian children from their homes to attend boarding schools.
Consider Little Singer Community School, with 81 students on a remote desert outpost. The vision for the school came in the 1970s from a medicine man who wanted area children to attend school locally. Here's the reality today: a cluster of rundown classroom buildings containing asbestos, radon, mice and mold.
Students often come from families struggling with domestic violence, alcoholism and a lack of running water at home, so nurturing is emphasized. The school provides showers, along with shampoo and washing machines.
Teachers have no housing, so they commute together about 90 minutes each morning on barely passable dirt roads.