|David T Flanagan; 1999 - Current|
Ruling is a political body blow to the nation-wide Republican effort to stop voters from casting non-Republican votesJudge David Flanagan has permanently and immediately halted enforcement and implementation of the Republicans' voter ID-obstruction act in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP et al v. Walker (Case 11CV5492).
The 20-page Order and judgement are posted at Madison.com.
Another permanent injunction of the anti-voter act is in effect in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669).
Citing the presented evidentiary record and a host of empirical data in the tradition of the housing discrimination and civil rights segregation cases of the 50s-60-70s, Flanagan writes as a sub-heading the doctrine:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has not deferred to the legislature on questions of voter qualificationThe effect of this recognized prominence of the right to voter is that temporary majorities in the Wisconsin legislature cannot obstruct citizens from voting, per the Wisconsin Constitution, without first changing the Wisconsin constitution.
Flangan's decision comes as two federal cases continue, and likely point to the failure of the Republicans' voter obstruction project in Wisconsin. [See Frank et al v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Jones et al v. Deininger et al (Case 2:12-cv-00185), U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.]
Similar obstruction projects continue in other states where Republicans hold political power in the legislature and governor's office.
Citing a long line of case law, Flangan notes the right to vote is "inherent ... fundamental .... sacred." (State ex rel. McGrael v. Phelps, 144 Wis. 1 128 N.W. 1041, 1046)
Act 23 addresses a problem which is very limited, if it indeed exists. It does not appear to recognise or to account for the difficulty its demands impose upon indigent and elderly citizens who are eligible under the constitution to vote. It offers no flexibility, no alternative to prevent the exclusion of a constitutionally qualified voter. Given the sacred, fundemental interest at issue, it is clear that Act 23, while perhaps addressing a legitimate concern, is not sufficiently narrow to avoid needless and significant impairment of the right to vote. The enactment steps beyond the proper authority of the legislature and is in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1.