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Justice Dept. asks for delay in Texas voter-ID case, citing new leadership

The Justice Department is asking for a one-month delay of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday on Texas’s voter-identification law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled last year that the law had a discriminatory effect and that provisions must be made to allow those who lack the specific ID the law requires to be able to cast a vote. Tuesday’s hearing in Corpus Christi was meant to focus on the relief required.

“The United States seeks to continue this hearing because of the federal government’s change in administration,” the request says. “Because of the change in administration, the Department of Justice also experienced a transition in leadership.”

The department had previously argued that the hearing should be expedited because of the importance of the subject. Every judge who has considered the Texas law has found it discriminatory, but it still has been used in elections there.

The Justice Department has also asked for and was granted a delay for a Tuesday hearing on Baltimore’s consent decree, an agreement to revamp police practices in the city. That hearing has been pushed back to Jan. 31.

The Justice Department is still being run by an Obama appointee, Sally Yates, who had been the deputy attorney general. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick to be attorney general, has yet to be confirmed.

Live coverage of Trump’s inauguration
In this Jan. 15, 2016, photo, the U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony this week in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Donald Trump will be sworn in Friday during an inauguration that’s expected to draw between 700,000 and 900,000 people. Security officials said there are 63 demonstration groups, pro and con, also expected Friday. Follow our liveblog for updates through this afternoon’s inaugural parade.