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Federal judge still won't block Voter ID law

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A week before some Indiana voters go to the polls, a federal judge in Indianapolis has declined to block the state's voter identification law that's currently in flux following a state appellate court ruling in September.

U.S. Judge Larry McKinney on Monday denied a Cumberland attorney's motion for temporary injunctive relief, which would have stopped Indiana from being able to enforce its voter ID law during the Nov. 3 election.

The action comes in a federal case filed by Robbin Stewart to challenge the statute, which was passed in 2005 and has since been upheld by federal constitutional standards by the Supreme Court of the United States. Stewart filed the suit in April 2008 in Marion County, though it was later removed to the Southern District of Indiana to resolve the multiple federal and state constitutional claims. A year ago, Judge McKinney denied a request to certify a constitutional question for the Indiana Supreme Court's consideration. He also denied Stewart's first motion for preliminary injunction prior to the 2008 presidential election, and the judge referred to that previous order in denying this more recent motion.

What's changed since then, however, is an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling on Sept. 17 that struck down the state statute on grounds similar to what Stewart is arguing in his federal case. A unanimous three-judge panel for the state court reversed a ruling by Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid, who in late 2008 upheld the state statute and found it didn't violate Indiana Constitution Article 2, Section 2 and Article 1, Section 23. Instead, the appellate judges found the law "regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial," and as a result they instructed the trial judge to enter an order declaring it void.

The Indiana Supreme Court is currently considering requests from attorneys in the state suit to weigh in on that case, but justices haven't yet made a decision to grant or deny transfer.

Stewart's case remains open and a case management plan submitted earlier this year called for a two-day trial in November; it's unknown if that will still happen.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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