Voter ID

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued two rulings upholding 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, a state law requiring voters to present photo identification at polling places. The court ruled that mandating ID does not place a substantial burden on voters, nor does it create an unreasonable regulation on elections. The Seventh Circuit is still considering a challenge to the same law, however. In April, Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled that the law unduly burdens some voters, particularly low-income ones, and violates the Voting Rights Act. This week, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed motion to lift the injunction created by Judge Adelman’s earlier ruling.
Wisconsin’s court battles reflect the nationwide debate about voter ID laws. Proponents of the laws argue that abuse is rampant, ID laws make a clear statement that corruption is intolerable, and requiring photo identification is a minimal burden.

Opponents of voter ID laws contend that voter fraud is rare, but voter suppression is likely. At the Washington Post, Justin Levitt argues that his extensive, nationwide research of election fraud reveals only 31 incidents since 2000. Levitt points out that more than 1 billion ballots have been cast in that time. Allegations of voter intimidation or suppression are common, though what counts as a criminal offense or civil rights violation may be hard to define. Physical threats obviously count. Jim Crow’s shameful legacy of literacy tests and poll taxes obviously do. Willful disinformation campaigns do. Whether insisting on photo identification, which may be more difficult for people in some communities to provide, counts as voter suppression is a much closer call.

Both sides offer up horror stories. True the Vote trumpets allegations of misconduct on one side, while the NAACP insists that election officials continue to suppress minority votes on the other. Mostly the discourse drops to the level of anecdote. Too often, the deciding factor reduces to which seems more plausible to you personally — that people who shouldn’t vote do, or that people who should don’t?

Where does the conversation go from there?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Battling Anecdotes With Symbols: Why The Voter ID Debate Goes Nowhere”

* Belgium has captured a real-life pirate king! But pirate kings just aren’t what they used to be. Something tells me Blackbeard wouldn’t have gone down because somebody said, “Hey, come back to England so we can make a movie about you.” [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* After a roller coaster malfunction killed a passenger, Six Flags responds by pointing the finger at someone else. They didn’t design or build the ride… they just bought it, promoted it, operated it, and profited off it, but they did not design or build it. [Houston Chronicle]

* At oral argument, Justice Scalia ripped a lawyer for thinking the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to protect minority rights against a white majority. As Scalia notes, “that was the argument in the early years…. But I thought we rejected that.” Leave it to Justice Scalia to point out that no one makes decisions based on the publicly known original intent of the drafters of constitutional provisions from 150 years ago. That would just be silly. Now, if we’re talking 200 years ago… [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* A Texas judge is reprimanded for trying to pull strings for a friend. Unfortunately, it seems like he’s also really bad at pulling strings. [Legal Juice]

* Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp has started a fashion industry law blog. Ooh Law Law. Oh, I see what you did there. [Ooh Law Law]

* Judge Posner, who authored the decision that framed the entire voter ID debate by casting doubt that the laws could be used to disenfranchise voters, tells HuffPo Live’s Mike Sacks that he was completely wrong. Judge Posner explains that events have confirmed that voter ID laws are really all about disenfranchising poor and minority voters. Ever the empiricist that Posner guy. Full video after the jump… [New York Times]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.16.13″

* Hey, they actually found one instance of voter fraud. By a nun. I can’t wait for the GOP to try to construct an entire argument for restrictions on voter access based on this case. [Talking Points Memo]

* Defense attorneys can go to jail for lying? In Detroit? Mind: blown. [Washington Post]

* The Senate grills would-be SEC chairman Mary Jo White. The hypocrisy of a bunch of Senators in the pocket of Wall Street asking about White’s potential conflict of interest would be stunning if this wasn’t the U.S. Senate. [National Law Journal]

* Former prosecutor and former FBI agent join forces to start a… private equity litigation finance group. I guess their years of investigation showed them where the money is. [Reuters]

* A law professor blames “no child left behind” for the poor quality of students these days. Yes, but what do we blame for the quality of law professors? [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* We’re going to have to do something about these sinkholes. [Daily Mail]

After the jump, a propaganda video purportedly made by North Korea “seems to mistake TTT grads for regular Americans,” according to a tipster….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 03.13.13″


I voted today. I hope you did too or will soon.

It wasn’t “easy.” I voted on the Upper East Side of New York, not exactly a contested district, but I still had to stand in line for an hour outside. Inside, there was more waiting and general confusion and misinformation. There was one non-partisan election lawyer at my location — I said, “It seems like a mad house in here.” He said, “You should see things downtown.”

It was the tenth or eleventh time I’ve voted at that polling place, and this was by far the hardest.

That said, if one looks at the scale of things that are difficult in life, getting into law school is a “1,” getting a job after law school is a “10,” and voting is, at most, a “4.” You can do it. It’s harder than it should be, but it’s not that hard. If you are reasonably intelligent and have a modicum of patience, you can figure it out.

Of course, if you are old or a dumb ass, things might not go so well….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Difference Between Voter Suppression And Voter Duress”

* Everyone’s happy about the Dewey & LeBoeuf settlement except the Ad Hoc Committee and its LeBoeuf retirees, who called Judge Martin Glenn’s attempt to slap them down an “insult to injury.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* While South Carolina’s voter ID law wasn’t found to be inherently discriminatory, its enforcement was still blocked because people will be unable to get their sh*t together in time for the election. [Bloomberg]

* VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz’s 1991 wedding guest list has come under fire because Barack Obama was invited. Clearly there’s a conflict of interest worth arguing about here. [Washington Post]

* This man is nobody’s “butt boy”: Tom Keefe, the interim dean over at Saint Louis Law School, will be footing a $14,212 bill for his students in the form of ABA Law Student Division memberships. [National Law Journal]

* Strippers in California, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Texas, and Nevada will be making it rain, because they just scored a $12.9M class action settlement. That’s a whole lot of “college tuition”! [Courthouse News Service]

* Will the members of the Supreme Court announce which gay marriage issues they’ll be hearing this term any time soon? With Proposition 8 appeal and several DOMA appeals on hand, there’s certainly a lot for them to choose from. [CNN]

* It’s beginning to look a lot like Biglaw, everywhere you go: lawyers are miserable, clients are unhappy, and apparently profits per partner are all to blame. Gee, thanks for those rankings, Am Law, they were really helpful. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Instead of arguing over font size, the Department of Justice argued law yesterday during closing arguments in its attempts to convince a three-judge panel to strike down South Carolina’s voter ID statute. [National Law Journal]

* Unlike Elizabeth Warren, he’s no “Fauxcahontas”: Kevin Washburn, the dean of the University of New Mexico Law School, has been confirmed by the Senate to oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs. [Washington Post]

* If you’re going to allegedly slash someone’s face in an attempt to defend your honor, at least do it with class like this Columbia Law grad, and use a broken champagne flute as your weapon of choice. [New York Post]

How festive!

* You can kiss your dreams of seeing Prop 8 being taken up by the Supreme Court goodbye if the justices decide to proceed with “more cautious DOMA challenges.” [Slate]

* Well, at least one person is getting annoyed by the endless back and forth between Posner and Scalia. But that’s just one person. We’ll continue to beat that horse until it’s extra dead. [Althouse]

* Is this like the new WebMD, but for law? With prompts like, “Can that crazy neighbor buy a gun?,” it looks like a suitable place for legal hypochondriacs to call home. [myRight]

* Oh yay, I don’t like to get into election law and politics, so it’s a good thing that The Simpsons did all my work for me on this one: “Stopping all Americans from voting is for the protection of all Americans.” [PrawfsBlawg]

* Kat over at Corporette wants to know what your top five tailoring alterations are — because after all, it’s pretty hard to dress for success in Biglaw if your pants are dragging on the floor. [Corporette]

* You’d have to be super-dee-duper high to think that disguising your pot plants as Christmas trees in the middle of the desert to throw the police off your tracks would actually work. [Legally Weird / FindLaw]

Noooo, anything but that!

* The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments today over the state’s voter ID law. But at this point, who cares? Come on, Election 2012 is probably going to be decided by a court anyway. [Bloomberg]

* Sedgwick’s New York office is relocating to Two World Financial Center. This won’t be just any office; no, it’ll be an “office of the future.” They don’t need roads where they’ll be reviewing documents. [Real Estate Weekly]

* Paul Bergrin, the Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey, will be tried on all 26 counts in his racketeering case in one fell swoop. Not to worry, because this badass thinks he’s going to be acquitted. [The Record]

* This year’s summer associates didn’t want to be wined and dined. They wanted to be put to work, because “[m]andatory social events can be physically and mentally taxing.” Aww, boohoo, social skills sure are tough. /sadface [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another law school lawsuit tossed out: Team Strauss/Anziska’s case against DePaul Law was dismissed because it’s pretty hard to blame a law school for the effects of a bad economy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Anna Gristina, the alleged Millionaire Madam, vowed that she’d never spill the beans on a mystery man from her little black book. Could it be the “prominent Manhattan lawyer” mentioned earlier? [New York Daily News]

[W]e note that the document appears to be in 12 point font, not 13 point font. I’m pretty sure this specific topic was a point of discussion among all counsel prior to filing our respective briefs, and each party appeared to recognize the continuing 13-point font requirement.

Thus, we were surprised to receive the State’s 12-point font brief. The apparent failure to comply with the Court’s order had the effect of substantially increasing the State’s page limitations and, under the circumstances, prejudices the United States.

Bradley Heard, a lawyer with the Department of Justice, in a weekend email sent to a group of attorneys from Bancroft. The firm represents South Carolina in an ongoing dispute with the DOJ over the state’s voter ID law.

(Was there a resolution in this case of prejudice by font?)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Size Matters”

Talk about a pole tax…

* Dewey know if Citibank is planning to sue other former D&L partners over their capital contribution loans? According to one court document filed by Luskin Stern & Eisler, the bank’s counsel, the fun has just gotten started. [Am Law Daily]

* Unlike the voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina, the Department of Justice has approved New Hampshire’s law of the same ilk. Apparently hippies from the “Live Free or Die” state are incapable of discrimination against minorities. [CNN]

* Arizona, on the other hand, can discriminate against minorities all the live long day — for now. A federal judge ruled that the “show me your papers” provision of S.B. 1070, the state’s strict immigration law, may be enforced. [Bloomberg]

* The latest argument raised in the case over the Mongolian Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton is that the bones are actually a “Frankenstein model based on several creatures.” This movie is getting boring. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “[T]he state of New York doesn’t get to be a dance critic.” We’re sure that any man would gladly tell the New York Court of Appeals that lap dancing is a form of art, but should it enjoy a tax exemption? [Associated Press]

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