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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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