Monday, April 16, 2012

Wisconsin Supreme Court Refused To Review Several Injunction Appeals Of The Voter ID Law

J.B. Van Hollen

State Supreme Court decision, a major set back for the Governor Scott Walker administration, GOP legislators and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 16, 2012

Madison - On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided not to review several injunction appeals of the Voter ID law. The Supreme Court judges did not include a reason for their decision not to hear the appeals, according to a notification released by the court.
The appeals were filed by the State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen after two lower Dane County Circuit Courts placed injunctions to block implementation of the Voter ID requirement law. One of the courts place a temperary injunction and recently began its Voter ID court trial on the issue. Another court placed a permanent injunction.
Van Hollen appealed the injunctions, but the appeal courts decided to consolidate both cases and skipped their decision on the cases, which were sent directly to the state Supreme Court for review.
The appeals were returned to both the Wisconsin District IV and District II Courts of Appeals, which will now have to render their own decisions before the cases move forward to the Supreme Court.
Van Hollen had filed a petition with District IV Court of Appeals to overturn a permanent ruling by Dane County Judge Robert Niess in a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters. Van Hollen had argued that the state legislature's authority wasn't limited and under Article III, Section 2 of the state Constitution it didn't violate the Constitution by enacting the Voter ID.
On March 12, Judge Neiss ruled otherwise and said that the state Constitution didn't give authority for the legislature to create another class of citizens to implement voter restrictions. The League of Women Voters claimed the Wisconsin state Constitution only allowed legislators to prevent felons and mentally incompetent people from voting and did not include another category of citizens. The Voter ID also known as Act 23, illegally created another group to be excluded from voting and Judge Niess agreed.
Van Hollen also had filed a petition with District II Court of Appeals to stay a temporary injunction of the Voter ID by Dane County Judge David Flanagan. The lawsuit was filed the Milwaukee Chapter of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera. Van Hollen had argued that the Voter ID law did not provide burdens for a citizen to acquire a birth certificate copy and the legislature provided funds ($6 million) for those who couldn't afford an ID to get one free for the purpose of voting.
On April 16, Judge Flanagan ruled that the Voter ID would keep about 220,000 low income voting-age citizens from voting due to the burdens imposed by the state legislature. Some citizens could not afford $10 to $40 to get a birth certificate copy to apply for a state ID. The Republican control legislature passed the Voter ID law in May 2011 and Governor Scott Walker (R) signed it into law.
As it stands now, the Voter ID law won't be implemented for the Governor Walker recall Primary Election on May 8 and the General Elections on June 5.

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