PA Voter ID Live Blog

09.57

Standard that should apply is rational basis. Putnam concludes, and the argument is over.

Share

09.56

Putnam says we could elevate the right to vote above all else and not have any rules, but that the issue in the case is whether the trial judge properly refused to grant an injunction, not whether the legislature’s chosen course was the best one.

Share

09.55

Putnam says legislature was motivated not only by fraud concerns, but also by promoting confidence in the system.

Share

09.54

Justice McCaffery pushing a slower implementation, asks who it would hurt. Putnam says that it would be an appropriate way to proceed, but that question is whether what the legislature decided was reasonable.

Share

09.53

Putnam: Claim that there is only 10 weeks to implement not true. Act passed in March. Argument that there are people who do not have ID and on;t be able to get it not supported by the record, and an injunction should not issue based on supposition that it could happen.

Share

09.52

Putnam: Existing PA law is that the standard under PA’s Constitution is same as federal law.

Share

09.51

Putnam addressing whether a higher standard applies to the act under the PA Constitution than under federal law. Says Chief Justice Castille was right that there is not a higher standard.

Share

09.50

Putnam addressing whether appellants needed to show that they’d prevail on the merits or only that there is a substantial legal question to have an injunction issued. Law in PA is very clear that likelihood of success on merits is required, and that adopting appellants position would overturn long and well-established PA law. Just can’t allow injunctions to issue because there is a disagreement over the law without radially changing PA law.

Share

09.48

Putnam points out that act requires photo ID from a Commonwealth agency – not necessarily PennDot

Share

09.47

With Justice Ore-Melvin not sitting there are only 6 Justices hearing the case. If the Court splites 3 to 3, the Commonwealth Court’s ruling will be upheld. Appellants need 4 of 6 to overturn.

Share

09.46

Justice Eakin appears to be a vote to affirm, and The Chief Justice appears to be a likely vote to affirm. Question is whether either Justice Saylor or Justice Baer will vote to affirm.

Share

09.45

Justice Saylor asks Putnam whether law can be implemented as written. Putnam says that it can because a PennDot ID is not required to meet the photo ID requirement.

Share

09.44

Putnam argues that court needs to focus on reviewing whether trial court erred in denying an injunction.

Share

09.44

Lower court was not convinced that the statute would disenfranchise any qualified voter or that any plaintiff or witness would not have their vote counted.

Share

09.42

Supreme Court majority in Crawford saw election fraud as a problem that the legislature needs to address.

Share

09.41

Putnam: Proposition that because Commonwealth stipulated that it would not put in evidence of fraud that fraud does not exist is plain wrong.

Share

09.40

Putnam leads off addressing the stipulation. Putnam points out that the record shows that the legislature was aware of fraud, but did not need to go out and prove individual cases of fraud.

Share

09.39

Knorr says that Todd’s characterization is not fair. Knorr is finished, Putnam is up.

Share

09.38

Justice Todd arguing that there is no evidence of voter fraud in PA. Wonder why no one raises the Marks/Stinson election

Share

09.37

Justice Todd accuses Commonwealth of backing away from stipulation re voter fraud.

Share

09.37

Anecdotal evidence supports trial court’s rejection of the 9% number.

Share

09.36

Knorr says that the Commonwealth does not concede there are that many. Says Commonwealth knows for sure that 91% have photo ID, and that it cannot be said that the other 9% don’t, its just that the other 9% could not be matched against PennDot’s database, and that the vast majority of the 9% have ID.

Share

09.35

Justice Baer asks how Commonwealth can win if there are 800,000 registered voters without ID

Share

09.32

Knorr answers McCaffery that people who do not have ID on election day could have gotten ID.

Share

09.32

Knorr disagrees with McCaffery that there is no fraud – only that there is no evidence that fraud is likely in the upcoming election. Justice Eakin answers that there was fraud when George Washington ran and that there will always be fraud.

Share

09.31

McCaffery says that even if only 1% do not have ID, there are still 90,000 Pennsyvanians who would be disenfranchised.

Share

09.30

Knorr arguing for considerable deference to legislature on time line for implementing the law. Justice Todd probing the extent of that deference – asks whether the Court should still defer if legislature only gave a week to implement. Knorr deftly answers that the standard of review is the same.

Share

09.29

Justice Todd seems very skeptical of the Commonwealth’s argument. Looks like she is also a likely vote against the law.

Share

09.28

Justice Todd wants to now what is the rush to implement. Knorr argues that the Commonwealth is doing a reasonable job of implementing and that there is no evidence that anyone will be disenfranchised

Share

09.27

Knorr says that the evidence did not show that it was 9% bit was clsoer to 1%. says argument that there could be 1.5 million voters without ID is fantasy, and that we don;t have that many people, let alone registered voters who don’t have ID

Share

09.26

Justice Todd asks what the evidence was re who does not have ID

Share

09.26

Knorr points out that of the 8 remaining individual plaintiffs all either have photo ID or the necessary documentation to get it. Says that plaintiffs could not produce a single person who could not get an ID.

Share

09.25

Justice Todd: Law appears to impact voters who are already registered, and therefore appears to violate the PA Constitution. Knorr argues that existing law already requires voters to prove identity, that requirement of photo ID is just asking for another way to prove ID, and that it is not a significant burden on the voters.

Share

09.23

Knorr argues that requiring proof of identification is not an additional qualification.

Share

09.22

Justice McCaffery asks whether requirement of photo ID creates another qualification to vote. Knorr says no, and that the law has always permitted that voters can be required to prove that they are eligible to vote. McCaffery insists that the requirement of a specific form of ID imposes an additional qualification. He’s a clear vote to strike down the law.

Share

09.20

Saylor presses the point that the Commonwealth cannot satisfy the letter of the law. Knorr argues that the law does not require a PennDot issued ID to vote and that there are other ways of proving identification to vote.

Share

09.19

Justice Saylor wants to know if PennDot will actually issue photo ID to people who do not have the identification materials required but who sign an affidavit as the statute requires. Knorr concedes that that legislative command cannot be met because the federal government has directed that PennDot cannot issue secure ID’s on an affidavit basis.

Share

09.15

Knorr argues that the statute passes muster on its face.

Share

09.14

Knorr: Legislature is entitled to substantial deference in making its judgments about how best to manage the election machinery.

Share

09.14

Knorr says that right to vote is at its core fundamental, but that not everything that affects the right to vote is fundamental. Pervasive state regulation is required to enable people to exercise the right.

Share

09.12

Knorr is leading off, Putnam will follow.

Share

09.12

Commonwealth is represented by John Knorr of the PA Attorney General’s office. Alfy Putnam from Drinker Biddle & Reath represents Governor Corbett.

Share

09.11

Appellants conclude their argument.

Share

09.10

Appellants say that the Commonwealth has not made it practically possible for many voters to get photo ID.

Share

09.09

Justice Todd asks whether provisional voting solves the problem.

Share

09.09

Appellants whole argument hinges on the claim that photo ID is too hard to get and is therefore a substantial burden on the right to vote.

Share

09.08

Eakin wants to know if appellants would withdraw the case if the Commonwealth agrees to use, for example, the Georgia or Virginia mechanisms for getting ID to eligible voters.

Share

09.07

Appellants are represented by Davod Gersch from Arnold & Porter.

Share

09.06

Justice Eakin says that appellants are really saying that the law is fine, but that the Commonwealth needs to do a better job of implementation. Question is not legal but factual, Eakin says – has the Commonwealth done a good enough job of assuring that voters can get the required ID.

Share

09.04

There are 9 counties in PA without a PennDot facility, and 10 where the facility is only open 1 day a week.

Share

09.04

Counsel argues that the statute is not narrowly tailored because the statute does not provide a mechanism by which every eligible person can get the required ID because PennDot does not have the ability to issue ID to all voters who need them in the time before this year’s election.

Share

09.01

The Chief Justice probes whether appellants are arguing for a more expansive interpretation of the right to vote than the Court is required to acknowledge.

Share

09.00

Chief Justice Castille asks whether the flexible standard under the US Supreme Court’s Crawford decision should apply.

Share

09.00

Justice Todd asks whether the case can be resolved without reaching the constitutional issue

Share

08.59

Counsel argues that strict scrutiny is the proper standard.

Share

08.56

Appellants argue for the “plainly legitimate sweep” standard.

Share

08.56

Justice Baer is asking whether appellants reject the standard that ordinarily applies to facial challenges to legislative acts (i.e., the challenge is rejected if there are circumstances under which the law be found constitutional).

Share

08.54

Counsel argues that the Commonwealth does not have a workable plan for getting everyone the necessary ID.

Share

08.53

Counsel suggests that anywhere from 1 to 9% of eligible voter do not have the necessary ID.

Share

08.52

Justice Todd pressing point re court’s obligation to defer to legislature on regulation of election machinery, but suggests that the level of deference might be less where the law affects elections to federal offices. Counsel rejects the distinction, says that question is the burden on the right to vote and that it doesn’t matter if its a state or federal election.

Share

08.50

Counsel points to GA law – veryone can vote absentee whether in the state or not on election day, and Michigan, where voters without ID can swear that they are who they say they are and vote.

Share

08.49

Counsel suggests Virginia’s law & implementation as more reasonable – no photo ID required, & state mailed required ID to eligible voters.

Share

08.48

Eakin points out that appellants condition cannot be satisfied – not possible to assure that no one will be burdened by the photo ID requirement.

Share

08.47

Justice Eakin asks what would be a reasonable time line for implementation. Counsel is trying to avoid the issue.

Share

08.47

The Chief Justice asks whether the fact that implantation might be rushed is sufficient reason to overturn the Commonwealth Court. Counsel concedes the point.

Share

08.46

Justice McCaffery suggests that there is no need to “rush” implementation

Share

08.45

Justice McCaffery asks whether phasing in the law ver 2 or 3 federal election cycles would solve the problem. Counsel conceded it would so long as there is a guarantee that no one will be disenfranchised.

Share

08.44

Appellant concedes that phto ID is not in and of itself unconstitutional. Problem is implementation. If it can be guaranteed that all eligible voters can get ID, no problem. Appellant says problem is the time line for implementation.

Share

08.43

Justice Todd asks whether appellants concede that legislature can regulate election process.

Share

08.43

Gersch says essential error in mere regulation argument is that the law does not guarantee that a qualified voter can get a photo ID

Share

08.42

Justice Baer points out that the Commonwealth has conceded that the right to vote is a fundamental right.

Share

08.41

Fact that right to vote is actually recognized in the PA Constitution reflects framers desire to protect voters from the legislature, and the legislature cannot therefore abridge the right.

Share

08.40

Gersch (appellants counsel) emphasizes AFL-CIO amicus brief re fundamental nature of right to vote.

Share

08.39

Appellants will focus on 3 issues: 1. The right to vote is fundamental; 2 Voter ID not a mere regulation; 3. Act is not narrowly tailored.

Share

08.37

Appellants argue that the law disenfranchises voters and poses a substantial burden on the fundamental right to vote

Share

08.36

The case name is Applewhite c. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Chief Justice is summarizing the issues in the case.

Share

08.35

There are no time limits on the argument

Share

08.34

Chief Justice Castille giving a little history of the PA Supreme Court

Share

08.33

The Justices have taken the bench, and court has been called into session.

Share

08.31

I have also been told that channel 6, the local ABC affiliate, will carry the argument live, but haven’t confirmed that info.

Share

08.30

If you’re a Comcast subscriber in the Philadelphia area, the argument will be broadcast on PCN, which is channel 186.

Share

08.26

Looks like this plug in is working ok.

Share
Live now. Argument starts in 5 minutes

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.