Jan 8, 2015

Civil Rights Activists Petition High Court to Halt Wisconsin Photo Voter ID Law

Ruthelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin
fights for her right to vote against Scott Walker
and Republican efforts to obstruct non-GOP
voting Wisconsin citizens in Frank v. Walker
It's 2015 and the major white-dominated political party—the Republican Party—continues its voter obstruction efforts against blacks and Latinos and other voters likely to cast votes for non-GOP candidates.

Civil rights activists are fighting back.

After successfully halting Wisconsin's photo voter ID law intended to stop non-Republican voters from voting, Wisconsin's Voter ID law remains unenforceable to the chagrin of the Republicans who passed it on a party-line vote in 2011.

So corrupt are the Republican Party of Wisconsin's purposes, even after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Voter ID law halted on October 9 in Ruthelle Frank, et al., Applicants v. Scott Walker et al, the Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told the Wisconsin press Voter ID would become the law anyway for the November 2014 election.

"We will be exploring alternatives to address the court’s concern and have voter ID on election day," Van Hollen said the day after the Supreme Court's order that contained no "concerns" or reasoning but was a terse order of what Wisconsin was ordered to do. (Hall, Wisconsin State Journal)

Van Hollen lied in asserting the Court had issued concerns when Van Hollen knew perfectly well the 107-word Supreme Court order was an order (with Justices Thomas, Alito and Scalia dissenting) lacking concerns or conditions other than the timely filing of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari as was done yesterday by litigants for voting rights in this case.

Van Hollen did successfully confuse some voters on whether they needed voter IDs to vote, and then backed down in the face of the ludicrous spectacle of a state attorney general defying the U.S. Supreme Court.

So nonsensical in the Republican Party's legal position that Judge Richard Posner of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took the extraordinary step of requesting a rehearing on behalf of the five judges dissenting from Judge Frank Easterbrook’s [a member of the radical right wing Robert Bork-founded, Koch Brothers-funded "Federalist Society"] opinion in September that had temporarily reinstated Wisconsin's Voter ID law in September 2014, after absentee voting had already begun. [See also Canning, Freidman's Posner's Penance: Revered Reagan-Appointed Jurist's Plea to SCOTUS to Overturn His Own Landmark Ruling on Photo ID Voting Laws.]

As the more GOP jurists become entrenched in the judiciary, the rule of law and rights of citizens begin to dissipate and nonsensical rulings from the GOP justices become routine.

If the U.S. Supreme Court denies the petition to hear this case, Wisconsin's Voter ID law will be reinstated. If the Court hears the case, the law remains enjoined pending the judgement of the Court.

Numerous other challenges to state Photo Voter ID laws enacted by Republicans could also be heard before the Court singly or in consolidation.

The ACLU's press release on its and other litigants' petition before the Supreme Court is reproduced below:

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court ruling upholding Wisconsin's voter ID law. The ACLU is challenging the law, which a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act last April. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, but in October the Supreme Court placed the law on hold as the case winds its way through the courts.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said:

"Efforts to restrict access to the ballot demand a full and thorough hearing, which is why we are asking the Supreme Court to review this case and ultimately strike down Wisconsin's voter ID law. Throughout years of litigation, Wisconsin has failed to identify a single instance of the type of fraud this law purportedly seeks to prevent. At the same time, it is absolutely clear this law would prevent thousands of voters from exercising the most fundamental right in our democracy. The Supreme Court has an opportunity now to help protect the right of all Americans to vote free from undue burdens."

Karyn Rotker, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin, said:

"We will continue to take all possible steps to ensure that all Wisconsin voters can exercise the right to vote - even if they are poor or homeless or disabled or for whatever other reason lack ID."

The ACLU challenged the law on behalf of numerous Wisconsin voters, charging the measure violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and Dechert LLP are co-counsel in this case, Frank v. Walker. The Supreme Court petition was jointly filed with the League of United Latin American Citizens, represented by Arnold & Porter and the Advancement Project.

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