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Judge declines to interfere with voter ID law

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A federal judge in Indianapolis won't interfere with the state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the election polls.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney denied a temporary injunction request from a Cumberland attorney and resident who is challenging Indiana's 3-year-old voter ID law that's been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Plaintiff Robbin G. Stewart filed the suit in April in Marion County, though it was later removed to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, to resolve the multiple federal and state constitutional claims. In September, Stewart asked the judge for one of three potential relief options: that he be allowed to vote without showing the required photo ID; that the state and county be required to count all provisional ballots cast by those not showing photo ID; or that the state not be allowed to enforce the voter ID law during the Nov. 4 general election.

Judge McKinney heard arguments Oct. 14 in Robbin Stewart v. Marion County, et al., No. 1:08-cv-586-LJM-TAB, and took the matter under advisement.

In his 10-page ruling, Judge McKinney rejected each of Stewart's arguments and found that he didn't represent a class of any similarly situated Hoosier voters and that he didn't adequately show any hardship in obtaining a photo ID. The court referenced how Stewart himself had obtained a valid license, and that meant he can vote and wouldn't suffer any irreparable injury by this injunction denial.

Turning to the landmark ruling issued earlier this year in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 128 S.Ct. 1610 (2008), Judge McKinney noted the reasoning in that facial challenge case applies to Stewart, even though he'd asserted this as an as-applied challenge that survives the Crawford scrutiny.

"Plaintiff has not designated any evidence to demonstrate a burden that, on balance, outweighs the State's interest in protecting against voter fraud," the judge wrote.

Judge McKinney also rejected Stewart's federal constitutional claims that the state law violates the First and 21st Amendments, finding that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago had explicitly held in Crawford that the law isn't a poll tax and that all courts had decided it didn't violate the First Amendment.

On a claim that the law violates the Fourth Amendment on search and seizures, the judge pointed out that Stewart did not cite a single case holding that poll workers must have probable cause before requiring voters to produce a valid photographic ID, and as a result he didn't show he could win on that claim.

The judge also rejected Stewart's state constitutional claims, finding that he didn't cite adequate legal authority and has not demonstrated any likelihood of success on the merits.

"I'm disappointed but not shocked," Stewart said about the judge's ruling. "The case is still alive; it's not like he dismissed it or anything. The next step is to take this to the 7th Circuit for some preliminary relief."

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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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