LatinoJustice PRLDEF files Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Requesting They Accept Appeal of Seventh Circuit Court Ruling Upholding the Wisconsin Voter ID Law.
New York –LatinoJustice PRLDEF has joined a broad alliance of Latino, black, civil rights and other advocacy groups in urging the U.S. Supreme court to hear an appeal challenging Wisconsin’s voter ID law. On February 9, 2015, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the international law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief asking the Court to grant review of the Seventh Circuit’s October 2014 opinion upholding Wisconsin’s voter identification (ID) law.
A Wisconsin Federal District Court Judge had previously struck down the ID law after a two-week bench trial in November 2013. The Supreme Court had blocked the law from going into effect in last year’s election after the plaintiffs showed that the state could not implement the law and get IDs to thousands of voters in time.
The primary questions before the Supreme Court are whether Wisconsin’s voter ID law violates the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law; and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which forbids state laws that disproportionately burden and abridge the voting rights of Latino and African-American voters compared to White voters. It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin at risk of losing their right to vote if the law is not overturned.
According to the brief submitted by LatinoJustice PRLDEF—on behalf of itself and several national civil rights, bar association and advocacy groups including the National Council of La Raza, Hispanic Federation, and the Hispanic National Bar Association—Hispanics in Wisconsin and other states are more likely to face language difficulties and other hurdles in trying to obtain the required photo ID or documentation to obtain one. The Supreme Court is expected to consider in March whether to take the case.
“This is an issue of national concern, since Wisconsin is just one of a number of states that have enacted strict ID requirements for voting in recent years. The appellate court ignored the trial court’s factual findings that Wisconsin’s photo ID law disenfranchises the poor and minorities, and we hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case,” stated Daniel R. Walfish of Milbank, who acted as counsel of record on the brief.
Jose Perez, Deputy General Counsel of LatinoJustice, said, “This Court’s review is essential to enforce the constitutional and legislative guarantees against voting-related burdens and discrimination.”
The case is known as Frank v. Walker, and the petition for a writ of certiorari seeking to have the Supreme Court review the case was filed by the plaintiffs in two consolidated lawsuits who are represented by the Advancement Project and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others.
The underlying lawsuits were filed in 2011 and 2012 by a coalition of civil rights groups, including The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Wisconsin. The Milbank legal team consists of Will B. Denker and Sagiv Y. Edelman, in addition to Mr. Walfish. LatinoJustice lawyers include Perez, Senior Counsel Jackson Chin, and Associate Counsel Martha Pardo.
For more information about the case, please visit: http://www.advancementproject.org/pages/wisconsin-vpp.