Judge Pitman denied the request for a temporary injunction in the birth certificate case, Serna v. Texas Department of State Health Services.
This isn’t the end of the case; Judge Pitman’s order simply means that he feels that both sides have raised important points and wants to hold a full trial before forcing the State to accept a matricula consular as proof of parental identity.
The Judge’s concerns mostly revolve around whether the plaintiffs will be able to meet the burden of the strict scrutiny test, particularly whether the state’s policy is narrowly-tailored enough to avoid infringing upon the plaintiffs’ rights.
I have a suspicion that in the long run, the State will probably lose this battle; developing a full trial record may also prevent the more-political Fifth Circuit from overturning Judge Pitman’s final decision. Nevertheless, as the Washington Post editorialized earlier this month, the status quo is unacceptable:
Texas’s position subjects children and their parents to a Kafkaesque hall of mirrors. Officially, the state acknowledges that the children are U.S. citizens. It says their birth certificates are in the state’s database. But without issuing those certificates, it leaves certain immigrants unable to prove that they are their children’s parents and children unable to prove that they exist in any official capacity. That’s not governance; it’s harassment and oppression.
This case also begs the question, whether the security model used to protect birth certificates and other vital records, is suitable. The extent to which government documents are “secure” and fraud-resistant is a matter of degree; with the proper motivation and resources, pretty much any identification document can be forged.