May 20, 2016

Wisconsin Voting Rights Trial: GOP's DoJ Is Back to Citing Polls as Constitutional Argument

Wisconsin Republican Party, DoJ Keep Citing Polling in Federal Litigation

At oral argument in the voting rights case, Frank et al v. Walker et al (No.: 14-2058), heard at the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in August 2014, Wisconsin DoJ Assistant Attorney General Clayton Kawski argued Wisconsin's restrictive photo voter ID is constitutional because results of a polling question on voter ID, (Marquette University Law School), showed more Wisconsin citizens favored voter ID than opposed it, (14-2058, Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker oral argument, civil,  09/12/2014) (2-minute, 34-second mark).

This argument on voting restrictions' constitutionality conditioned on polling numbers was ridiculed by the Seventh Circuit's three-judge panel.

"What conceivable relevance is a polling number to this litigation?," said Judge Frank Easterbrook, a voting rights opponent and author of the opinion upholding Wisconsin's photo voter ID law.

Seconds later after Judge John Tinder asked Clayton Kawski if popular laws can be unconstitutional, Kawski was forced to backtrack and admit the irrelevance of a polling figure to the constitutional questions.

One Wisconsin Institute v. Nichol 

The polling argument today is back at another Wisconsin voting rights trial, One Wisconsin Institute v. Nichol (U.S. District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin (Case 15-cv-324).

Notes Scott Ross, One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director on Facebook: 

So on day five of our vote trial, I have had my fav moment. The defense, [the Wisconsin DoJ], was asking our expert witness about her research on the absence of voter fraud in Wisconsin elections and noted 'polls show people support voter ID.' Our attorney came back with 'polls show some people believe our president is a Muslim,'

Polling figures as the basis for the constitutionality of laws designed to destroy the vote.

Now, that's a novel argument, but good enough for the Republican Party of Wisconsin and its adjunct operation in the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice.

Why is the Republican Party's DoJ advancing this discredited argument?

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