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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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