Apr 13, 2016

Sensenbrenner Still Scamming Wisconsin on Photo Voter ID Obstruction

Update: Seventh Circuit panel sends back Frank v. Walker (No. 15-3532) to Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Report Patrick Marley and Jason Stein:

Madison attorney Lester Pines said Tuesday's ruling could lead to a victory for a small subset of voters.

'The 7th Circuit has found that the district court has to allow for the presentation of evidence about the hurdles that some people have to obtaining photo ID that actually keep people from voting,' said Pines, who is not involved in this case but represented the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in a separate challenge against the law in state court. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Another Wisconsin voting rights case, One Wisconsin Institute, et al v. Nichol, et al (U.S. District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin (Case 15-cv-324)) is expected to go trial in May or June 2106.

See also Lueders, The Progressive, on Republican efforts to keep away the wrong people from the polls.
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) is continuing his charade he is a champion of the Voting Rights Act eviscerated by the then Republican-led U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder in 2103.

Sensenbrenner's bill to restore the Voting Rights Act is a ruse, and the latest to apparently fall for the con is The Capital Times' Dave Zweifel. Not good, but Zweifel is in good company.

Sensenbrenner penned a New York Times op-ed piece on March 31, 2016 saying he is appalled by Shelby County and , the later lie fed

Let's look closer at the 2015-16 Voting Rights Amendment Act authored by Sensenbrenner, and his history.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act specifically protects the Republican Party's most important voter obstruction weapon—the restrictive photo voter ID law used by Republican-led states to obstruct the wrong kind of voters from casting their preference at the ballot bin/machine.

Reads Sensenbrenner's 2015-16 bill in the Congressional summary:

Excludes from the list of violations triggering jurisdiction retention authority any voting qualification or prerequisite which results in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote that is based on the imposition of a requirement that an individual provide a photo identification as a condition of receiving a ballot for voting in a federal, state, or local election. (emphasis added)

Photo Voter ID has been exposed for what it is, a scheme to obstruct people from the polls who are likely to not vote Republican. See Judge Richard Posner's extraordinary 2014 "On Suggestion of Rehearing En Banc" in the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Wisconsin photo voter ID bill; (Posner, Frank v. Walker), (Mal Contends), (Brad Friedman) ( Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times).

Judge Richard Posner's extraordinary
2014 On Suggestion of Rehearing En Banc
, (p. 17).
Suggestion failed five to five, green-lighting
Wisconsin's photo voter ID law after the U.S.
Supreme Court failed to grant cert. Since 2014,
strict photo ID laws have spread even more.
So why would a Congressman who says he cares about voting rights protect state voter obstruction? Because that congressman, James Sensenbrenner, is a liar.

Civil rights activists, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, have supported Sensenbrenner's iterations of his bill in the past, hoping, I am told by a civil rights activist, the photo voter ID language would be amended out.

Sure, that's going to happen under Republican House leadership.

Said Sensenbrenner in 2014 in a townhall meeting in Rubicon, Wisconsin in his district: "The good part about the Voting Rights Act modernization is that I got a provision in there that basically gets Eric Holder out of going after photo ID laws," the 18-term Badger State congressman claims on the undercover video, (National Review), (James O'Keefe).

Sensenbrenner's posturing in the New York Times that he is risking his his lilly-white and segregated congressional seat is ludicrous.

Sensenbrenner's also said in 2104, "I hope the president vetoes the bill. ...  If the president vetoes—well, let me rephrase that – if the president vetoes this bill, he will lose an awful lot of the African-American support that he has," (Roth, MSNBC), (James O'Keefe).

Why would a champion of the Voting Rights Act want the U.S. DoJ to not retain any jurisdiction over states' voter obstruction?

Sensenbrenner Defends Texas and Wisconsin's Voter Obstruction

If Sensenbrenner's duplicity were not sufficiently clear, consider as well Sensenbrenner's outspoken support for two of the nation's most restrictive photo voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin.

Sensenbrenner, one of the few serving in Congress who opposed the federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, had this to say about Texas' vile photo voter ID law in 2103:


there are of course serious efforts to protect voting: The Pocan-Ellison Right to Vote Amendment. Sensenbrenner supporting this mega-voting rights guarantee, and going against his Party's voter obstruction project is as likely as Sarah Palin winning a Nobel Prize in physics.

Sensenbrenner said Republican voter obstruction efforts such as Wisconsin's, are "common-sense efforts to ensure the identity and citizenship of voters," (July 2012) (Mal Contends).

More Sensenbrenner Mendacity

There's more Sensenbrenner lies and hypocrisies of course, too many to list.

For example as noted here, Sensenbrenner's Wisconsin colleague in the House, Mark Pocan (D-Madison), specifically called out Republicans in Wisconsin and other states for obstructing voters in 2103.

Sensenbrenner should join Pocan.

Pocan has introduced a Constitutional amendment that would guarantee citizens' right to vote, protecting Americans against the ever-changing voter obstruction efforts now plaguing our nation, and committed by one political party—the Republican Party.

Pocan's amendment would also change the balance of power -- by altering the legal calculus for showing voters' rights are violated -- in favor of voters. As Pocan said, "There is no explicit right to vote in the Constitution. If we had an explicit right to vote, any state that passes a law that makes it harder to vote would have to prove that they’re not harming someone’s ability to vote rather than the opposite. Right now a person has to prove that they’ve been harmed by a state law. And it really changes the burden of proof on those states that pass these laws that really make it harder for people to vote," (Mal Contends).

Sensenbrenner refuses to join Pocan, both in condemning voter obstruction at the state level, and in refusing to support Pocan's proposed Right-to-Vote constitutional amendment.

Instead, Sensenbrenner toes the GOP line on state Republican voter obstruction efforts, to repeat, calling the obstruction, "common-sense efforts to ensure the identity and citizenship of voters," (July 2012).

What Sensenbrenner is pursuing is a cynical inside/out con game in which Sensenbrenner takes no political risks in appearing to seek to repair the eviscerated Voting Rights Act, while supporting Republican voter obstruction efforts on the state level.

One hopes this anti-American effort to obstruct the vote is stopped in its tracks, and Sensenbrenner's deplorable hypocrisy is revealed.

As for Shelby, the Supreme Court will reverse this clearly untenable decision, explaining in part why the Republican Senate is working so ferociously against Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland, (White House).

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