UPDATE: Sharply divided appeals court explains ID ruling

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 --- 4:39 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A sharply divided federal appeals court has issued dueling opinions explaining its ruling last week not to reconsider its decision allowing Wisconsin's voter identification law to go into effect.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday issued the two opinions. Five judges on Friday said they wanted to hold a new hearing on the issue of whether the law should be allowed to take effect for the Nov. 4 election, while five other judges didn't want to hold the hearing.

The deadlock means the decision by a three-judge panel on Sept. 12 to allow the law to take effect stands.

Judges not wanting the law to take effect immediately say it is impossible as a matter of common sense and logistics to inform voters of the requirement.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, September 26, 2014 --- 9:27 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The full 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will not rehear the case challenging Wisconsin's voter identification law.

The court on Friday said that it was equally divided on whether to take up a request to reconsider a Sept. 12 decision allowing for the law to be implemented.

The original decision was reached by a three-judge panel. The law's opponents asked for the full 10-member court to consider hearing the challenge to the law, which argues the requirement for voters to show photo identification at the polls is unconstitutional.

In its Friday order, the court said individual judges may file opinions later explaining their votes.

The order says those in favor of rehearing the case were judges Diane Wood, Richard Posner, Ilana Rovner, Ann Claire Williams and David Hamilton.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Monday, September 23, 2014 --- 4:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has refused to allow a liberal group to file a brief arguing Wisconsin transportation officials can't issue enough photo IDs to voters before the Nov. 4 election.

A number of legal challenges has kept Wisconsin's voter photo identification law from taking effect. A 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel ruled this month, however, that election officials can reinstate the law for the upcoming election.

The ACLU and the Advancement Project have asked the full appellate court to reconsider the decision. One Wisconsin Institute filed a brief Monday arguing Wisconsin's Division of Motor Vehicles offices aren't open for enough hours before the elections to get IDs to everyone who needs them.

The 7th Circuit refused to accept the brief on Tuesday. It offered no explanation.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Monday, September 22, 2014 --- 3:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A liberal group is telling federal judges that Wisconsin driver's license offices aren't open enough to produce enough IDs for would-be voters before the Nov. 4 election.

The law has been dormant since February 2012 pending legal challenges. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, reinstated the photo ID requirement Sept. 12 while it ponders the merits of arguments against the law.

One Wisconsin Institute filed a brief in the case Monday, arguing Wisconsin's Division of Motor Vehicle offices aren't open enough hours to issue IDs for the 300,000 people who need them before the election. The brief says more than half of the 92 offices are open only two days per week.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 -- 5:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal appeals court in Chicago has set oral arguments in the fight over Wisconsin's voter identification law for next month.

Republicans passed a law in 2011 requiring voters to show photo identification.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman blocked the law earlier this year after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged it, calling it unconstitutional. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Adelman.

The court on Tuesday set oral arguments in the case for the morning of Sept. 12. Each side will have 30 minutes to speak.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has denied a request by Wisconsin's attorney general to put on hold his decision blocking the state's voter identification law from taking effect.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Wednesday denied Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request for a stay of his April order blocking the photo ID law. Adelman says he is denying the request because Van Hollen's likelihood of winning the case on appeal is low.

Van Hollen's spokeswoman Dana Brueck declined comment.

Van Hollen has appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and asked it to also lift Adelman's injunction blocking the photo ID requirement. That appeals court has given opponents of the law until Tuesday to respond to Van Hollen's request.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law in 2011.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, July 31, 2014 --- 7:19 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls, but the law remains blocked in federal court.

Thursday's ruling has no immediate impact given that the law was struck down in April by a federal judge in Milwaukee. His ruling is under appeal, and a federal appeals court would have to overturn it for the law to take effect.

Four lawsuits have been filed over the law passed in 2011. The 5-2 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling addressed two that were filed by the League of Women Voters and the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The voter ID requirement was only in force for one low-turnout spring 2012 primary before being blocked by a state judge.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Tuesday July 29, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court plans to rule Thursday in three major cases.

The court is planning to issue its ruling on the collective bargaining changes Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature approved in 2011, despite massive protests that led to a series of recall elections.

Elements of the law have been upheld by the state Supreme Court and two federal courts already.

The state Supreme Court is also planning to rule on a pair of cases challenging the 2011 law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. That decision is expected to have a limited impact given that a federal court in April ruled that the requirement violated the state constitution.

The court is also slated to decide a case challenging the state's domestic partner registry.

Copyright Associated Press 2014


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