ILNews

High court grants transfer to voter ID case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether the state's voter identification law violates the Indiana Constitution.

The high court granted transfer today to League of Women Voters of Indiana Inc., et al. v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously found the law "regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial." The appellate court reversed Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid's 2008 ruling that the statute didn't violate Indiana Constitution Article 2, Section 2 and Article 1, Section 23.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office filed the petition for transfer in October. The statute has been upheld by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court in William Crawford, et al. v. Marion County Election Board, 128 S. Ct. 1610 (2008).

The League of Women Voters claimed the voter ID law passed in 2005 violates Article 2, Section 2 of the state constitution that says citizens only need to meet age, citizenship, and residency requirements in order to vote in person. The plaintiffs believed any change must come through a constitutional amendment. The plaintiffs also argued the statute violates the state constitution under the equal privileges and immunities section because it's created disparate treatment of in-person voters because not every photo ID is uniform.

The Court of Appeals found the statute unconstitutional on its face. Indiana's lack of stringent absentee-voter regulations makes it unreasonable for this voter ID statute to put additional burdens only on in-person voters and not the others, the panel held. The judges also found Crawford didn't address the state statute questions at issue in the instant case.

The presidents of League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis released a joint statement today regarding the transfer.

"We are confident that after Indiana's highest court carefully examines the Voter I.D. Law, it will conclude that the burdens it imposes on otherwise qualified voters who vote in person are not justified by, or reasonably related to, its alleged purpose of preventing fraud," the statement said. "It is unjust that in-person voters be required to present government identification if they want their ballot counted. Such a requirement imposes an additional voting qualification not authorized in our state's Constitution."

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita also released a statement saying, "I am fully confident that when the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court review the merits of our exemplary law they, like their counterparts on the U.S. Supreme Court, will allow the law to stand."

Oral arguments haven't been set but will be scheduled by a further order, according to the transfer.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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