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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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