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District judge sends voter ID suit back

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

"Courts coordinate voter ID cases" IL Jan. 6-19, 2010

A federal judge ruled against a Cumberland man in his federal challenge to Indiana's voter identification law, but has remanded his pending state claims back to Marion Superior Court where the case initially started.

In the case of Robbin Stewart v. Marion County, et al., No. 1:08-CV-586, U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana granted summary judgment April 16 for Marion County, Clerk Beth White, and the State of Indiana. The case challenged the state's voter ID law that's been upheld on one front by the Supreme Court of the United States and is currently pending on state issues before the Indiana Supreme Court. Stewart initially filed the case in state court in 2008, but it was removed to federal court. He argued the law violates the First, Fourth, 14th, and 24th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The judge ruled that Stewart's First and 14th amendment claims are fore- closed by the decisions that went to the SCOTUS in Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, 458 F. Supp.2d 775 (S.D. Ind. 2006), and Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008). He also ruled that claims on the voter ID law being a poll tax should also fail because the 7th Circuit already noted that it's not a poll tax in Crawford. Stewart's Fourth Amendment challenge failed because those rights aren't affected, and there was no impact on his rights because he had a choice to not present his license in order to vote or fill out a provisional ballot.

"Even if requiring identification at the polls does constitute a search, it still does not violate the Fourth Amendment," Judge McKinney wrote. "... The State of Indiana has an important interest in preventing voter fraud. Asking every voter who appears at the polls for identification in a consistent manner is a lawful means of serving this interest."

The judge decided not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Stewart's pending claims under Indiana state law and remanded the case to Marion Superior Court for consideration. The remand comes after the Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments in March in League of Women Voters of Indiana, et al. v. Rokita,
No. 49S02-1001-CV-00050, which challenges the voter ID law on state claims and last year saw the Indiana Court of Appeals strike it down as unconstitutional.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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