UPDATE: Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Voter ID Cases

MacIver News Service | February 25, 2014


[Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two separate cases over the state’s voter identification law on Tuesday. Arguments lasted a little over three hours.

Assistant Attorney General Clayton Kawski argued for the state in favor of Wisconsin 2011 Act 23, the state’s voter ID law. Kawski argued that the law was being challenged facially and opponents of the law had not provided sufficient evidence to find the law unconstitutional.

Attorneys from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, however, argued the law creates a new qualification for voting and that some of the state’s residents would be disenfranchised because they do not have a valid ID.

After the arguments, Attorney General JB Van Hollen said he expects the law to be upheld by the court.

“Wisconsin’s photo identification law is a common-sense law that helps voters prove their identity at the ballot box,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “Wisconsin’s law protects the integrity of our elections and promotes confidence in electoral outcomes. It is constitutional, and I am hopeful that the law will be in place for the 2014 elections.”

Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz is in opposition to the law. Voces de la Frontera was another party to the lawsuit filed by the NAACP.

“The State Supreme Court protects our constitutional right to vote, which drives our democracy,” Neumann-Ortiz said in a statement. “The arguments and facts presented before the court today by the attorneys of Voces de Frontera and the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP, on the unconstitutional and discriminatory nature of Wisconsin’s Photo ID law, are undeniable.”

A decision from the Supreme Court is expected early this summer.

Original Post on February 24, 2014 at 3:37PM:

[Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday for two separate lawsuits over the state’s voter identification law signed by Governor Scott Walker in May 2011.

The two lawsuits – League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Scott Walker – were combined by the state’s highest court, but will still be heard as two separate cases. Each case will be allotted 60 minutes for oral arguments.

The voter ID law, Wisconsin 2011 Act 23, requires voters to present valid photo identification when participating in elections.

A Dane County judge overturned the law on March 12, 2012 in the case brought by the League of Women Voters. That decision was, however, reversed on May 30, 2013 by the District IV Court of Appeals. It was then appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided to also take up the lawsuit from the NAACP.

Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, told the MacIver News Service he thinks the voter ID law will be upheld.

“The question before the court is not whether voter ID is a good idea or even whether Wisconsin’s law is the best one imaginable,” Esenberg said. “It is whether the law is constitutional. Our state constitution permits reasonable regulation of election procedures and, like the United States Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will uphold voter ID.”

However, Melanie Ramey, President of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, thinks the court will strike down the law.

“We are looking forward to the oral arguments and we’re glad the Supreme Court will listen,” Ramey said in a statement. “We believe the Appeals Court ruling did not differentiate between the ID required by federal law to register to vote and the more restrictive requirements in the voter ID law.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to begin oral arguments at 9:45am on Tuesday and a decision is expected in early summer.