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Judges and Voter ID (Wisconsin)
National Review Online ^ | May 2, 2014 | Hans A. von Spakovsky

Posted on 05/02/2014 9:58:50 AM PDT by jazusamo

If the state provides free IDs, is there really an “unjustified burden” on poor voters?

To better understand the contrast between an activist, liberal judge who refuses to follow the law and a judge who understands that his job is to follow precedent and the Constitution, consider two recent federal cases on voter-ID laws.

On Tuesday, federal-district-court judge Lynn Adelman — a Clinton appointee, former Democratic state senator, and former Legal Aid Society lawyer — held that Wisconsin’s voter-ID requirement violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, because it places “an unjustified burden on the right to vote.”

This decision has gotten a great deal of attention in the mainstream press (or the drive-by media, as Rush Limbaugh likes to calls them).What got almost no attention was a decision by another federal district court in Tennessee on February 20 over that state’s voter-ID law. In that case, Judge Ronnie Greer upheld voter ID as constitutional.

The problem with Judge Adelman’s holding in Wisconsin is that the U.S. Supreme Court has already determined that voter-ID laws such as Wisconsin’s do not impose “an unjustified burden” on the right to vote. In 2008 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of an ID law in Indiana that was even stricter than Wisconsin’s law.

In Crawford, the Supreme Court said that, since Indiana provided a free ID to anyone who didn’t already have one, “the inconvenience of making a trip to the BMV, gathering the required documents, and posing for a photograph surely does not qualify as a substantial burden on the right to vote, or even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.” And Wisconsin provides a free ID just as Indiana and Tennessee do.

But here is where the contrast between two styles of judging are manifest: Adelman claimed that Crawford was “not binding precedent” when it comes to applying the balancing test between a claimed injury to the right to vote and a state statute regulating elections, because the Supreme Court was supposedly “fragmented” on this issue.

Compare that to Judge Greer in Tennessee, who did what he is supposed to do as a federal trial-level judge — follow precedent and the holdings of the Supreme Court. As Judge Greer said, “Whether the plaintiff likes it or not, Crawford is the controlling legal precedent.”

While there were some minor differences between the Tennessee and Indiana statutes, Judge Greer concluded that they were “virtually identical”’ for the purpose of applying the Supreme Court’s finding in Crawford, because “none of the differences cited by plaintiff have any real constitutional significance.”

Judge Adelman summarily dismissed the rationales that Wisconsin put forward to justify its voter-ID law — the same rationales the Supreme Court concluded in Crawford were legitimate legislative concerns. These included preventing in-person voter-impersonation fraud, promoting public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process, deterring other types of voter fraud, and promoting orderly election administration and accurate record-keeping.

Adelman made much of the fact that there was a lack of evidence of impersonation fraud in Wisconsin and cited that as a reason for tossing out the statute. This also directly contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling in Crawford. However, as Judge Greer pointed out in response to the plaintiffs’ argument that Tennessee must provide “empirical evidence of the existence of in-person voter impersonation fraud” before it could implement such a law, “the Crawford decision is dispositive on this issue in the context of an election law case.”

Even though Indiana presented no evidence of in-person voter-impersonation fraud actually occurring in the state, the Supreme Court found that “flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists,” and Indiana’s own experience with absentee-ballot fraud in a 2003 Democratic primary “demonstrates that . . . the risk of voter fraud [is] real [and] that it would affect the outcome of a close election.”

Greer said that the plaintiff’s “allegations of Tennessee’s lack of empirical evidence of in-person fraud or that requiring photo identification will reduce it are irrelevant.” As the Supreme Court concluded, “while the most effective method of preventing voter fraud may well be debatable, the propriety of doing so is perfectly clear.”

Perfectly clear to Judge Greer, but not to Judge Adelman, who, in essence, refused to accept the Supreme Court’s finding on all these issues and spent 90 pages trying to justify his defiance of binding Supreme Court precedent.

It is also interesting to note that Adelman bases his erroneous conclusion that a voter-ID law will suppress the votes of minorities and the poor on the prediction of supposed “experts” such as a “statistical marketing consultant.” These are exactly the same types of hysterical predictions that were made eight years ago by “experts” in the unsuccessful federal lawsuits filed against voter-ID laws in Indiana and Georgia.

The evidence of what has actually happened in those states, which have had voter-ID laws in place since the 2008 election, shows that, contrary to Adelman’s conclusions, minority turnout was not suppressed by voter-ID requirements. Indeed, it went up after the voter-ID laws were implemented.

And, according to the U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s demographics are almost identical to Indiana’s. In fact, Indiana has a slightly larger black population (9.4 percent vs. 6.5 percent) as well as Hispanic population (6.3 percent vs. 6.2 percent) than Wisconsin. In Indiana, blacks outvoted whites by ten percentage points in the 2012 election. In Georgia, blacks outvoted whites by one percentage point. In Tennessee, whose voter-ID law was in place for the first time in the 2012 election, blacks outvoted whites by four percentage points, according to the Census report on turnout by race in every state.

It appears that Judge Adelman studiously ignored actual evidence of the effect of voter ID on the turnout of minority voters in other states. Instead, he relied on the speculations of “experts” — who made the same predictions as experts in other voter-ID cases who have been repeatedly proven wrong — to reach his conclusion that Wisconsin’s voter-ID law, even with a free ID available, will have a disparate impact on black and Latino voters because it will “impact low-income voters.” Not only is that factually unsupportable, but “low-income voters” are not even a protected class under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Unlike Judge Adelman, Judge Greer properly concluded that the “Supreme Court’s ultimate holding in Crawford dooms plaintiff’s constitutional challenges.” It is true that Adelman also found a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which was not at issue in the Crawford case. But Adelman himself said that the “Section 2 analysis is largely identical to the unjustified-burden analysis” under the constitutional claim.

Since the Supreme Court had already decided that a voter-ID requirement is not an “unjustified” burden on voters, Adelman’s conclusion to the contrary under both Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution runs directly counter to the higher court that he is supposed to follow.

So we have two federal judges, one of whom followed Supreme Court precedent, and one of whom refused to do so. And whose opinion has gotten the most attention and is being praised by the New York Times and the liberal cognoscenti? Why, Judge Adelman’s, of course.

Adelman’s decision will be reviewed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals — the very same court that upheld Indiana’s voter-ID law in 2007, before it went to the U.S. Supreme Court and was affirmed. We may hope that it will give his latest opinion the short shrift it deserves and overturn it so that the opponents of election integrity and common-sense reform do not prevail in Wisconsin.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: Indiana; US: Tennessee; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: activistjudge; adelman; democrats; electionfraud; franken; fraud; scotus; vonspakovsky; votefraud; voterfraud; voterid; voting; votingrightsact; wisconsin

1 posted on 05/02/2014 9:58:50 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: afraidfortherepublic; BuckeyeTexan

Ping!


2 posted on 05/02/2014 10:01:26 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

If federal-district-court judge Lynn Adelman were honest, she would just say the law makes it too difficult for sanctioned minorities to vote more than once.


3 posted on 05/02/2014 10:04:11 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: jazusamo

But Adelman would no doubt rule that none of the paperwork and computer-time necessary to sign up for ObamaCare constituted an “unjustified burden.” She’s a political hack, a joke.


4 posted on 05/02/2014 10:04:15 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: jazusamo

When will we wake up?

Ask the judge whether s/he was required to show or scan government ID to enter the building and be in court that day!

How can a judge who is required to produce government issued ID adjudicate such a case? Conflict of interest.


5 posted on 05/02/2014 10:04:50 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations - The Acronym explains the science.)
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To: Vigilanteman

She’s a he


6 posted on 05/02/2014 10:04:59 AM PDT by CMailBag
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

They don’t care about that. They never did. They don’t care about the Constitution or your rights. It is dogma and ideology to them and they are part of the larger amorphous plan to reduce this country to a tyranny of progressivism that will punish you for your thoughts if they aren’t diverse and liberal enough.

Individual freedom is the farthest thing from their twisted minds. I can’t say here what really should happen to them.


7 posted on 05/02/2014 10:07:37 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: jazusamo
We may hope that it will give his latest opinion the short shrift it deserves and overturn it so that the opponents of election integrity and common-sense reform do not prevail in Wisconsin.

And on the heels of that decision, may the good citizens of Wisconsin launch a recall election or impeachment proceeding to throw 'judge' Adelman out on his arse.

8 posted on 05/02/2014 10:08:37 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Vigilanteman; Steve_Seattle

Agree with you both but she’s a he and he’s going to be overturned on this, the guy must be getting senile to not follow precedent.


9 posted on 05/02/2014 10:09:08 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

Yep, this old turkey is a leftist activist and decides cases accordingly.


10 posted on 05/02/2014 10:12:23 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo
the U.S. Supreme Court has already determined that voter-ID laws such as Wisconsin’s do not impose “an unjustified burden”

Settled law baby.

11 posted on 05/02/2014 10:13:25 AM PDT by MUDDOG
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To: jazusamo

Not to mention the decision is racist - blatantly - and insulting to blacks. The judge thinks the collective intelligence of blacks is lower than whites so they need special protections.

B.S.


12 posted on 05/02/2014 10:13:52 AM PDT by DManA
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To: jazusamo
Adelman claimed that Crawford was “not binding precedent” when it comes to applying the balancing test between a claimed injury to the right to vote and a state statute regulating elections, because the Supreme Court was supposedly “fragmented” on this issue.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board went 6-3 in favor of voter ID being constitutional. If it's necessary that Supreme Court decisions be unanimous, then most decisions go out the window.

13 posted on 05/02/2014 10:14:59 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: jazusamo

All the states have to do is tell all the federal judges they will not obey their edicts. Simply say “This is a state issue and you, Mr. Federale, and do not have the power to rule over the states.”


14 posted on 05/02/2014 10:15:40 AM PDT by VerySadAmerican
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To: jazusamo

In fact, the governors could say “When you come to get James Dobson, we’ll be standing there with him.”


15 posted on 05/02/2014 10:16:22 AM PDT by VerySadAmerican
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Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

16 posted on 05/02/2014 10:16:48 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

Those that protest the most about voter photo ID hold rallies requiring photo ID to participate and then cheerfully show their photo ID to buy beer and cigarettes, cash a check, get a library card, rent a car.....


17 posted on 05/02/2014 10:18:16 AM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: PapaBear3625
Adelman claimed that Crawford was “not binding precedent”

I'd bet the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals isn't going to agree with this turkey. :)

18 posted on 05/02/2014 10:21:18 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

Just make it a requirement that everyone must have a state-issued ID to pick up any form of public assistance. That should eliminate the problem.


19 posted on 05/02/2014 10:22:24 AM PDT by jstaff
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To: jazusamo

You know, jaz, I’ve honestly looked at this issue. I’ve tried putting myself in the shoes of some ultra poor person who wants to vote.

Money could be an issue...but they made it free.

Transportation could be an issue...but they have to be able to transport themselves to the voting precinct.

The only issues left are mental and physical ones, and they’d be the same no matter what.

Maybe we need a Voter Registration Van with ID capability that goes to houses that call them for their services.

At that point in time, there is absolutely no argument against photo IDs that anyone could conceivably make.


20 posted on 05/02/2014 10:26:12 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
Maybe we need a Voter Registration Van with ID capability that goes to houses that call them for their services.

The problem with that is that the people in the van might get suspicious when they keep getting called to the same UPS storefronts and abandoned warehouses.

21 posted on 05/02/2014 10:28:40 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: PapaBear3625

We could arm them. :>)


22 posted on 05/02/2014 10:33:42 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: jazusamo

From the article: “Adelman claimed that Crawford was “not binding precedent” when it comes to applying the balancing test between a claimed injury to the right to vote and a state statute regulating elections, because the Supreme Court was supposedly “fragmented” on this issue.”

If this is the case, then we don’t need a Supreme Court. If the only acceptable precedent requires unanimity on the Court, there is little need for the Court.

Just sayin’


23 posted on 05/02/2014 10:40:55 AM PDT by PubliusMM (RKBA; a matter of fact, not opinion. 01-20-2016; I pray we make it that long.)
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To: jazusamo; Lurking Libertarian; Perdogg; JDW11235; Clairity; Spacetrucker; Art in Idaho; GregNH; ...

FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.

24 posted on 05/02/2014 10:40:57 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind. ~Steve Earle)
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To: xzins

That would be a mighty expensive program that would only be a benefit for a comparative few.

My MIL is 90 and even without our help she’d find a way to get that photo ID if she didn’t already have one.

Maybe the political parties should arrange transportation for those few people affected like that, they sure don’t hesitate to get them to the polls.


25 posted on 05/02/2014 10:42:37 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

My point only is that there could be no argument then about voter ID. If it’s free, it’s available, and they’ll even drive you to get one, then what argument could possibly remain?


26 posted on 05/02/2014 10:44:33 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Vigilanteman

If liberals were honest, they couldn’t get their agenda advanced one inch.


27 posted on 05/02/2014 10:45:49 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: xzins

You’re correct, it would take every possible argument away from the Holder’s on down the line. DOJ has probably spent enough on lawsuits over this to pay for that free transportation already.


28 posted on 05/02/2014 10:51:59 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

In Colonial times, in the run-up to the Revolution, Crown judges who deviated so far from the path of justice would have seen their houses burned, their businesses looted and their persons insulted. It would have been make crystal clear that their rulings were unacceptable.


29 posted on 05/02/2014 10:57:19 AM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes EVERYTHING)
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To: jazusamo

“Adelman made much of the fact that there was a lack of evidence of impersonation fraud in Wisconsin and cited that as a reason for tossing out the statute.”

And, the reason there’s a lack of evidence of impersonation fraud is ... lack of a requirement for photo ID.


30 posted on 05/02/2014 11:37:26 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Vigilanteman
She?


31 posted on 05/02/2014 11:43:36 AM PDT by Brown Deer (Pray for 0bama. Psalm 109:8)
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To: jazusamo

Anyone who enters the polling place in Indiana may cast a vote. BUT it may be a previsional ballot that require certain actions by the voter within a designated period of time after Election Day ( providing ID included)
All efforts are made to make sure legitimate voters counted. ( poll workers have been known to provide transportation in that designated time period for those who may have problems getting to the BMV to get ID)

When one Indianapolis precinct had over 100% voting it prompted the SOS to push to clean up the process. We’ve had to tweek it a couple of times but any state who doesn’t have voter ID in place should definitely look at what’s in place here.


32 posted on 05/02/2014 12:01:17 PM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: hoosiermama

Thanks...Sounds like it’s practical and reasonable.


33 posted on 05/02/2014 12:15:02 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: BuckeyeTexan

Wasn’t he the judge that was reversed on the Wisconsin Union bill decision?


34 posted on 05/02/2014 2:44:13 PM PDT by Perdogg (Ted Cruz-Rand Paul 2016)
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