News Roundup

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As the News & Observer reports, late last week the Fourth Circuit struck down significant portions of the Voter Information and Verification Act, legislation passed in 2013 that, among other things, required photo ID at polls and shortened the early voting period.  The Fourth Circuit concluded that certain provisions of the legislation were enacted with racially discriminatory intent, and enjoined the implementation of those provisions.  The News & Observer article says that politicians who support the Act, claiming that it is designed to prevent voter fraud, intend to appeal the decision and consider it to be politically-motivated.  Election officials reportedly are “scrambling to comply” with the ruling.  Keep reading for more news.

Raise the Age.  Jessica Smith has a column in the Greensboro News & Record this week that discusses a proposal to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in North Carolina to 18.  The proposal comes from the Criminal Committee of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law & Justice.  Along with the Criminal Committee’s report, interim reports from the other committees of the NCCALJ are available online, and the Commission invites public comment on the reports.  Smith serves as the reporter for the Criminal Committee and LaToya Powell served on the Subcommittee on Juvenile Age.  Keep reading for more news.   

Pinging in Your Ear.  Earlier this week the Second Circuit ruled that exigent circumstances supported officers “pinging” a murder suspect’s cell phone in order to locate and arrest him. Law professor Orin Kerr has a post on the Volokh Conspiracy that analyzes the decision.   If you aren’t familiar with the now common practice of pinging a cell phone, Jeff has a book that may interest you.

Obama Commutes More Sentences.  Politico reports that President Obama commuted the sentences of 214 people earlier this week as part of a “Justice Department initiative to ease punishments for low-level drug offenders who received long sentences due to mandatory minimums.”  The report says that “Obama has granted more commutations than his nine most recent predecessors combined.”

New Indigent Defense Attorney in Missouri.  The Missouri indigent defense system is facing a severe funding crisis, and the Director of the Public Defender System and the Governor have been in conflict over the issue.  A seldom-used provision of Missouri law authorizes the Director to “[d]elegate the legal representation of any person to any member of the state bar of Missouri.”  The Governor is an active member of the state bar.   You see where this is going – in perhaps the only indigent defense appointment to ever qualify as a mic drop, the Director has called the Governor into service and ordered him to enter an appearance as counsel of record in a criminal case.

Unbridled Spirit Bridled in Charlotte.  The Charlotte Observer reports that a Kentucky man intoxicated by Tennessee whiskey was subdued by an American Airlines pilot in Charlotte and charged with various crimes after becoming violent and disruptive as his plane taxied to the airport.  After his plane landed, Michael Kerr became agitated and attacked a flight attendant.  The pilot of the plane then tackled Kerr, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police dragged him off the plane, and a U.S. District Court Judge banned him from flying on commercial airlines.

Pokémon Problems.  As previously noted on the News Roundup, the nation has a Pokémon problem on its hands.  Over the weekend, Raleigh police ejected around 100 people from Nash Square who were playing the game after the park closed for the day.  Up in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to prohibit sex offenders under community supervision from playing the game. In Las Vegas, a hold-up turned into a shoot-out when a Pokémon player with a concealed carry permit exchanged fire with armed robbers.  Stay safe out there.

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9 comments on “News Roundup

  1. Okay, maybe you gentlemen (and ladies too) can help me understand something.

    What part, if any, does the SCOTUS case CRAWFORD ET AL. v. MARION COUNTY ELECTION BOARD ET AL. Argued January 9, 2008—Decided April 28, 2008 play in this voter ID issue?

    It appears that SCOTUS has already decided that:
    ——————————
    For most voters who need them, the inconvenience of making a trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles [Tenn], gathering the required documents, and posing for a photograph surely does not qualify as a substantial burden on the right to vote, or even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.

    Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate record keeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process. While the most effective method of preventing election fraud may well be debatable, the propriety of doing so is perfectly clear.

    SOURCE: .
    ——————————

    It seems to me that this issue has already been decided by SCOTUS. What am I missing here?

    SOURCE: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/07-21.pdf

    • The Crawford plaintiffs argued that requiring a photo ID to cast a vote was an unreasonable burden (under the 14th Amendment) on individuals who did not have a photo ID. The Supreme Court held that since the state would provide photo ID’s for free to those who applied that the requirement was not an “excessively burdensome” requirement that violated the Constitution. Justice Stevens reasoned that that the benefits of the ID requirement (modernizing elections, preventing voter fraud and increasing confidence in the elections outweighed the burden on voters who lacked a photo ID since it was relatively easy to obtain a photo ID. Crawford was a 3-justice opinion — Stevens, Roberts, Kennedy. Scalia, Thomas and Alito joined an opinion concurring in the judgment. Those three would be more deferential to state voting restrictions.

      The NAACP v. McCrory plaintiffs argued that North Carolina’s voting overhaul was motivated by intentional discrimination against African American voters. The trial court ruled against the plaintiffs. On appeal, the 4th Circuit disagreed and ruled that the fact that the legislators targeted previously enacted voting reforms that were disproportionately used by African Americans, showed racially discriminatory intent. Laws motivated by intentional racial discrimination are impermissible.

      • Okayyyyyyyyy……and just what specifically are those ‘previously enacted voting reforms that were disproportionately used by African Americans’ that are being targeted?

        You wouldn’t happen to have a link to NAACP v. McCrory would you?

        Thanks.

      • Never mind sir…found it.

        From what I can see their arguments are:

        A. Voter ID Requirements – Which is already decided by SCOTUS which states:

        ——————————
        For most voters who need them, the inconvenience of making a trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles [Tenn], gathering the required documents, and posing for a photograph surely does not qualify as a substantial burden on the right to vote, or even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.

        Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate record keeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process. While the most effective method of preventing election fraud may well be debatable, the propriety of doing so is perfectly clear.
        ——————————

        B. Same Day Registration – Administrative decision that affects everyone equally so can’t ‘have a disparate impact’ regarding Blacks. In fact, even citing a racial component in this matter is a racist act in itself. We are NOT supposed to see the color of one’s skin but the content of one’s character.

        C. Early Voting – Administrative decision that affects everyone equally so can’t ‘have a disparate impact’ regarding Blacks. In fact, even citing a racial component in this matter is a racist act in itself. We are NOT supposed to see the color of one’s skin but the content of one’s character.

        D. Provisional Ballots – All I can say here is that if you are not capable of ascertaining the correct polling station to vote at then quite frankly you may be way too ignorant to vote. This is nothing more than NATURE at work to insure that only the smartest and strongest survive. Or do you propose to take nature itself to court as having a ‘disparate impact’ on one class or another? I really don’t think that nature will even deign to notice you. And before anyone attempts to condemn me I insist that you take note of the words of a BLACK American Social Reformer, Orator, Writer and Statesman…Frederick Douglas:

        “What shall we do with the Negro? I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

  2. After Indiana enacted an election law (SEA 483) requiring citizens voting in person to present government-issued photo identification, petitioners filed separate suits challenging the law’s constitutionality. Following discovery, the District Court granted respondents summary judgment, finding the evidence in the record insufficient to support a facial attack on the statute’s validity. In affirming, the Seventh Circuit declined to judge the law by the strict standard set for poll taxes in Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U. S. 663, finding the burden on voters offset by the benefit of reducing the risk of fraud.

    Held: The judgment is affirmed. 472 F. 3d 949, affirmed.

    STEVENS,J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which ROBERTS,C. J., and KENNEDY,J., joined. SCALIA,J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS and ALITO,JJ., joined. SOUTER,J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG,J., joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

  3. JW, you’re missing pages 60-61 of the 4th Circuit opinion.

    • I’ll pass it on to scotusblog.com as it is they in reality who are missing those pages then. Thanks!

  4. […] Laws Lawyer.  Last week the News Roundup noted that politicians who support North Carolina’s recently invalidated Voter Information and […]

  5. […] Grants Commutations.  The News Roundup has previously noted that President Obama has granted a significant number of commutations during his presidency. […]

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