D.C. attorney argues voter I.D. case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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One of the most vocal civil liberties advocates battling Indiana's voter identification law won't make his pitch to the Supreme Court of the United States this week.

When the nation's highest court hears the much-anticipated arguments Wednesday morning, Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher will argue for the state attorney general's office. But Ken Falk, who heads the legal department of American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, won't face the justices, nor will Indianapolis attorney William Groth, who represents the plaintiff, the Indiana Democratic Party.

Both have turned the spot over to Paul M. Smith, a partner at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C., who's argued before the high court a dozen times.

"I lost the coin toss," Falk said, who's argued before the court twice. "But I'll be there watching."

The court's nine justices will take up a pair of Indiana cases at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The combined cases are Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, No. 07-25, which challenge the state's nearly three-year-old voter photo ID law that has been upheld by both U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The cases are the first arguments scheduled that morning and are expected to last about an hour.

In the days preceding the arguments, multiple parties and organizations are holding news conferences and speaking out about the controversial and highly publicized issue, which takes center stage in a presidential election year. About 40 amicus briefs have been filed for both sides, with 23 filed for the petitioners against the law and 16 supporting the respondents in favor of the state. One brief from a law professor and dean is neutral.

The Supreme Court's arguments are not televised or broadcast live, but coverage can be found online at the Indiana Lawyer Web site, as well as in the Indiana Lawyer Daily and print editions of the newspaper.

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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?