The state Supreme Court refused Monday to immediately take up a pair of cases that struck down the state’s new voter ID law, a decision that will likely mean citizens won’t have to show identification when they cast ballots in recall elections in May and June. The court’s terse orders send the cases back to two different appeals panels, though the cases could eventually return to the Supreme Court. The justices issued their orders just three weeks before the May 8 primary for Democrats to pick a candidate to run against Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election. Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan in March blocked the voter ID law for the April presidential primary, saying it likely disenfranchised voters, based on testimony that there are more than 220,000 Wisconsin residents who do not have photo IDs but who are otherwise qualified to vote. A trial in that case began Monday, and Flanagan is expected to decide whether to lift his injunction or block the law permanently after it concludes this week. The case was brought by the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera.
Also in March, in a case brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess permanently blocked enforcement of the voter ID law because he said it violated the state constitution. The state constitution allows the Legislature to exclude felons and mentally incompetent people from voting, but not other groups of people. Niess ruled the law creates a new category of people who cannot vote – those without ID – and thus violates the state constitution.
The Department of Justice appealed both decisions – the NAACP case to an appeals panel based in Waukesha, and the League of Women Voters case to one based in Madison. Both appeals panels told the Supreme Court it should take up the cases directly because of their importance. But the Supreme Court on Monday rejected that plan in two pro-forma orders that were each one sentence long. The court does not typically spell out its rationale for refusing to take such cases, and it followed that standard in these cases.
Full Article: Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID cases – JSOnline.