Gov. Scott Walker and a top lawmaker said Wednesday they see little chance they could pass a voter ID law that would overcome Tuesday’s decision by a Milwaukee federal court judge overturning the requirement. Any new law would have to be approved by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, who not only struck down the voter ID law but also enjoined the state from enacting any similar requirement, said John Ulin, an attorney who represented civil-rights groups and individuals challenging the law. Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, said he doesn’t expect the Legislature to be convened before the November elections. “It would be an exercise in futility,” Ellis said. “Based on what Adelman wrote, it seems whatever we do, he’s going to rule unconstitutional.” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has taken a wait-and-see approach on the possibility of bringing lawmakers back to the Capitol, spokeswoman Myranda Tanck said. But Walker held out little hope the state could overcome the complete rejection of the law by Adelman, a former Democratic state senator who sits on the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.
“I didn’t see any evidence to suggest that Judge Adelman gave any suggestion that this could be upheld if a tweak was made here or there,” Walker said in an interview. “The decision from Adelman was basically just an outright opposition to the concept.
“There wasn’t any message given that this is technically a problem and if this were changed, this was just basically a full-out rejection of the position,” the governor added. “And one that we think will not be sustained.”
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said the state will appeal Adelman’s ruling to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago. But an attorney for the plaintiffs said any decision before the November elections would be “unlikely.”
Wisconsin’s voter ID law, passed in 2011, has been suspended since 2012 by previous state court rulings that found it violates the state Constitution.
Tuesday’s federal court decision invalidating the Wisconsin law requiring a state-issued photo identification to vote could be a blueprint for challenging other such laws around the country, advocates said Wednesday.