Pennsylvania attorneys challenge voter ID ruling

[JURIST] Lawyers for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett filed [text, PDF] a post-trial motion Monday in the legal battle over the state's voter identification law, alleging that the deciding judge in the case made "a host of mistakes." The motion alleges that Judge Bernard McGinley of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court [official website] made repeated mistakes of statutory construction and constitutional analysis. It alleges that he improperly declared the statute facially unconstitutional due to the way it was implemented, rather than the text of the statute itself being unconstitutional, stating, "The statute cannot be declared facially unconstitutional based solely on flaws found in the executive's reading or administration of the statute." Lawyers for the plaintiff in the case have reportedly stated [AP report] that the arguments alleged in the motion are largely identical to those raised previously by Corbett's lawyers at trial, and that McGinley had properly analyzed the statute in finding it unconstitutional. The next step in the process will be for plaintiff's lawyers to file their response to this motion.

McGinley issued [JURIST report] his opinion holding the law unconstitutional on January 17, saying that it did not further the goals of free and fair elections. The law has been suspended [JURIST report] repeatedly since its passing, most recently in August for the then-upcoming November election. The case has previously been argued all the way up to the state Supreme Court, which ruled [JURIST report] in 2012 that the lower court had improperly upheld the law and remanded the case. Currently 32 states have [JURIST backgrounder] some form of voter ID law.

 

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