In a searing clapback of the kind usually reserved for especially trifling people, Walker struck down a challenge from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration against overhauling Florida’s controversial voting rights restoration process for former felons. “Rather than comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution, defendants continue to insist they can do whatever they want with hundreds of thousands of Floridians’ voting rights and absolutely zero standards,” Walker wrote. “They ask this Court to stay its prior orders.” “No.”
For some context, Walker gave Scott and Cabinet officials until April 26 to fix a process he deemed an unconstitutional, nonsensical scheme. In Florida, convicted felons are permanently stripped of their voting rights –disenfranchising an estimated 1.5 million people. After completing their sentences, former felons who want their voting rights back must wait five to seven years to apply for clemency. After applying, they get a hearing before Scott and the Cabinet, who make up a clemency board that meets quarterly to hear less than 100 cases. But getting to this point can take years for former felons – there’s a backlog adding up to 10,000 cases.
Scott, who has made it much harder during his administration for felons to get their voting rights back, challenged Walker’s April deadline on Wednesday. The state filed an appeal to Walker’s ruling in the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.