CHICAGO (CN) – Wisconsin’s enforcement of a voter-ID law that allegedly discriminates against minorities and the poor will not face another 7th Circuit review.
After the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the law earlier this year, a federal judge struck it down for constitutional and Voting Rights Act violations.
A three-judge panel with the 7th Circuit reversed on Sept. 12, however, citing revisions by the state court to the procedures that would “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.”
Last week, opponents of the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the AFL-CIO, churches and Latino advocacy groups, asked the circuit for reconsideration. In its response, Wisconsin avoided mentioning the issues of race and class that dominated both oral arguments and the District Court’s opinion.
Rather the state pointed to a nearly identical Indiana statute that the Supreme Court upheld. It also said that “plaintiffs are asking this court to pinball state and local election officials between enforcing and not enforcing the law with an election on the horizon.”
With “an equally divided court” denying the motion for reconsideration Friday, the law will be enforced in the upcoming November elections.
The court may have split somewhat along ideological lines. Chief Judge Diane Wood, often considered a liberal anchor of the court, voted to rehear the case en banc. Obama-appointed Judge David Hamilton and Clinton-appointed Judge Ann Claire Williams both joined Wood, as did frequent iconoclast Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, and Judge Ilana Rovner, appointed by the elder Bush.
The order serves Gov. Walker better than the news the court gave him last week when it green-lit an investigation of his 2012 recall campaign for campaign-finance misconduct.
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