Federal judge with Rockford ties regrets ever supporting voter IDs

Federal Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner (who has ruled on several Rockford cases, by the way) is not the conservative ideologue he was when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the bench in 1981. Five years ago, for example, Posner opined that “the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings.” Posner’s ideological  evolution has continued apace and reached a milestone of sorts when he changed his mind on the issue of voting rights, as we see HERE: It’s only been one year since Reagan-appointed Judge Richard Posner converted to the view that voter identification laws are tantamount to voter suppression. His change of heart has sparked a fiery judicial opinion against a ruling in favor Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Posner dissented against the decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals not to hold a full court re-hearing of a three-judge panel’s ruling authorizing implementation of the Badger State’s voter ID law. Posner clearly regrets his previous position on voter ID, writing in a new book that he now pleads “guilty” to writing a majority opinion “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” (The Supreme Court temporarily put enforcement of the law on hold for the midterm elections.) Read that whole piece for a sampling of Posner’s most scathing remarks about voter suppression.        ...

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Five federal judges say GOP claims of voter fraud in Wisconsin are partisan and goofy

Numerous studies in recent years have shown that verifiable cases of voter impersonation fraud are as rare as hen’s teeth. Still,  that hasn’t deterred Republican politicians in various states from pushing preposterous and sometimes racist voter-suppression schemes. But now, such efforts in Wisconsin are the target of blowback from federal judges, as we see HERE: Just 14 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election, five appeals court judges Friday issued a blistering opinion calling allegations of voter impersonation fraud “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.” “Some of the ‘evidence’ of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the ‘True the Vote’ movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places,” wrote Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals… Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said he is considering ways to try to put the voter ID law back in place for the Nov. 4 election between GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke. But two professors who specialize in election law — Rick Hasen at the University of California, Irvine, and Daniel Tokaji at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University — said the ID requirement was unlikely to be in place for this election, given the Supreme Court’s decision. The high court, however, could allow the law to take effect for future elections, they said....

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Bad news for Scott Walker: Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin voter ID law

A scheme by Republican politicians in Wisconsin aimed at suppressing voter turnout has been negated by the nation’s highest court. The story is HERE: The Supreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election. Three of the court’s more conservative members dissented, saying they would have allowed officials to require identification… The Wisconsin requirement, one of the strictest in the nation, is part of a state law enacted in 2011 but mostly blocked by various courts in the interim. A federal trial judge had blocked it, saying it would “deter or prevent a substantial number of the 300,000-plus registered voters who lack ID from voting” and would disproportionately affect black and Hispanic voters. The law was provisionally reinstated last month by a unanimous three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Chicago hours after it heard arguments. The full court was deadlocked, five to five, on a request for a new hearing… The Supreme Court’s action was seen as a setback for Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who, along with a Republican-controlled Legislature, approved the law in 2011. He faces a re-election challenge from Mary Burke, a...

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Rand Paul criticizes Republican efforts at voter-suppression

Every once in a while, uber-libertarian Rand Paul makes sense. HERE‘s the latest example: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party. “Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”...

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GOP steps up voter-suppression efforts in swing states

THESE PEOPLE are shameless: Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls. The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote....

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