Like my headline?
I couldn’t resist fixing this one:
In truth, I’m a layperson with no idea how anybody would “fix” this gas-filled whale carcass of a law.
As I look around the net, the buzz is on the second of the two cases that Judge Adelman decided – the one that centers on the Voting Rights Act. ACLU brought forth the other one. (Which many readers probably remember as the case involving Ruthelle Frank from Brokaw, Wisconsin – a woman who lacks a birth certificate, has voted in every election since 1948, and served on the Brokaw Village Board since 1996).
PRWatch confirms that this is the
first decision finding a voter ID law violates section 2, which prohibits states from imposing a voting restriction that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
Judge Adelman found that Wisconsin’s voter ID bill creates a scenario, “in which a disproportionate share of the Black and Latino populations must shoulder an additional burden in order to exercise the right to vote.”
That second case was filed by the same team that knocked out Pennsylvania’s ID law. ABA Journal spoke with one attorney who worked on it:
Ulin says that his team looked at previous voter ID cases and realized that those plaintiffs had lost, in large part, because of their failure to create a sufficient factual record.
“We wanted to make sure this judge had the factual record he needed to understand why this law violated the Voting Rights Act,” Ulin says. To that end, Ulin and his team put on several witnesses who had trouble getting the required identification, as well as a number of experts who demonstrated that voter-impersonation fraud was a myth and that the law was designed to prevent minorities from voting. “Based on voter records and driver’s license records, there are over 300,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin that do not have a qualifying identification that would allow them to vote,” Ulin says. “That’s nine percent of the eligible voters in the state, and a disproportionate number of them are black or Latino.”
Election law expert Rick Hasen wrote on his blog that this “is about the best possible opinion that opponents of voter identification laws could have hoped for” given that it is heavy “on both facts and on law” though it is clear from his caveats that this decision is not necessarily immune from being overturned in an appeal [and we know it will be appealed].
In favor of this decision is the fact that the appeal will go to the 7th Circuit where Judge Posner is. Posner has made remarks about voter id laws being a method of vote suppression and he also publicly expressed regret for a past favorable decision towards the Indiana voter ID law.
On the flip side, Hasen says Judge Adelman used the “Anderson-Burdick” balancing test in an unconventional manner that could be questioned by the next court. (Read Hasen’s post “Breaking News: Federal District Court Strikes Wisconsin Voter ID in ACLU Case” HERE)
And Now a Word From Wisconsin’s Top Executive and Scholar
Despite the fact that Guv Walker thinks himself something of a constitutional scholar (cough), he told the press that Judge Adelman was once affiliated with the Dem. Party so therefore – POLITICS!
From WI S. Journal:
“Walker held out little hope that changing the law could satisfy Adelman, a former Democratic state senator who sits on the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.”
That’s standard Scott Walker. Wisco Tea and GOP types are sure to mimic it.
Attorney General Van Hollen released a paltry two sentence statement on the decision:
“I am disappointed with the order and continue to believe Wisconsin’s law is constitutional. We will appeal.”
Poor guy. We know his heart isn’t in this.
A pal of mine recently found his super-fancy mental coffee mug with his name and title embossed on it over at a thrift shop – and bought it.
[Picture of that mug to be added when I get permission. For now I leave you with something better: LBJ about to shake MLK’s hand after signing the Voting Rights Act. I think Rosa Parks is in there too.]