7th Circuit finds crucial that recent changes in Wisconsin to made it easier to obtain an ID.
In a ruling just handed down (h/t RightWisconsin), a panel of the 7th Circuit has vacated a prior injunction staying enforcement of the law, and holding that it will be in effect for this November’s election. The full Order is embedded at the bottom of the post.
The case was argued before the Court of Appeals earlier today.
The critical finding was that recent changes enacted in Wisconsin to make it easier to get an ID obviated the likelihood of irreparable harm, a necessary test for an injunction:
The district court held the state law invalid, and enjoined its implementation, even though it is materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008). It did this based on findings that it thought showed that Wisconsin did not need this law to promote an important governmental interest, and that persons of lower income (disproportionately minorities) are less likely to have driver’s licenses, other acceptable photo ID, or the birth certificates needed to obtain them, which led the court to hold that the statute violates §2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973.
After the district court’s decision, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin revised the procedures to make it easier for persons who have difficulty affording any fees to obtain the birth certificates or other documentation needed under the law, or to have the need for documentation waived. Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, 2014 WI 98 Guly 31, 2014). This reduces the likelihood of irreparable injury, and it also changes the balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief. The panel has concluded that the state’s probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court.
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