The state Supreme Court on Thursday declined – for now – to take up lower court orders blocking Wisconsin’s voter ID law, the latest sign the law likely will not be in place for the Nov. 6 presidential election. In a pair of brief orders, the high court said if it were to take up a review of the law, it would hear arguments in both cases at the same time. But it noted that initial appeal briefs had not yet been filed in one of those cases, and so it is taking neither. Two Dane County judges separately blocked the law this year for violating different provisions of the state constitution. Thursday’s ruling was applauded by opponents of the voter ID law.
GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature approved the voter ID law last year, just as their colleagues did elsewhere around the country, saying it would help ensure fair elections. Democrats largely opposed Wisconsin’s law, arguing it was an effort to prevent minorities and low-income people from voting. Lawsuits followed and two Dane County judges struck down the law. One found the Legislature did not have the power under the state constitution to impose a photo ID requirement on voters; the other found the photo ID requirement placed an unreasonable burden on the right to vote guaranteed in the state constitution.
GOP Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen promptly asked the Supreme Court to take the cases, but the court in April declined to do so. In August, he repeated the request, saying the justices should take the case because there are now final orders from both lower courts. In Thursday’s orders – unanimous and unsigned – the Supreme Court said it was too early for it to take one of the cases and said as a result it would take neither. “It’s a terrific victory for voter rights because it means almost certainly this disenfranchising law will not be in effect for the November election,” said Rich Saks, an attorney for two groups that challenged the law.
Full Article: State Supreme Court declines to take up voter ID, for now.