Media Center

An Overview of Recent Developments in Voter ID Cases

 

MADISON — On Thursday, March 15, 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made two sets of filings on behalf of the defendants in NAACP v. Walker, et al., and League of Women Voters v. Walker, et al., in the Wisconsin Courts of Appeals. Both cases were initially filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

 

Below are chronological summaries of recent developments in each of those cases:

 

NAACP v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11-CV-5492

 

  • March 1, 2012, the Honorable David T. Flanagan in Dane County Circuit Court heard the plaintiffs' motion for temporary injunction.
  • March 6, 2012, the Court issued the Order Granting Motion for Temporary Injunction, ordering defendants to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, pending trial of this case and further order of the court.”
  • March 9, 2012, the defendants (DOJ) filed a Notice of Motion and Motion to Stay Temporary Injunction with the Circuit Court; on March 15, 2012, the Circuit Court issued an order denying that stay motion.
  • March 15, 2012, the defendants filed with the Court of Appeals, District II, a petition for leave to appeal the non-final order of March 6, 2012, (the Order for Temporary Injunction) and a request to stay further proceedings in the Circuit Court pending appeal.
  • March 16, 2012, the Court of Appeals, District II, declined to immediately stay further proceedings in the Circuit Court and ordered plaintiffs (respondents) to respond by March 20, 2012, both to DOJ's petition for leave to appeal and to DOJ's request for a stay of circuit court proceedings.
  • March 19, 2012, the DOJ filed a motion, in the Court of Appeals, District II, for a stay pending appeal of the temporary injunction entered on March 6, 2012, by the Circuit Court.

 

League of Women Voters v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11-CV-4669

 

  • March 12, 2012, the Honorable Richard G. Niess in Dane County Circuit Court issued a permanent injunction, ordering that the defendants are “permanently enjoined forthwith from any further implementation or enforcement of [2011 Wisconsin Act 23's photo ID requirements].”
  • March 15, 2012, the defendants (DOJ) filed with the Circuit Court a motion to stay the March 12, 2012, permanent injunction.

 

  • March 15, 2012, the defendants (DOJ) filed a notice of appeal from the March 12, 2012, final order of the Circuit Court, enjoining Act 23, and a motion to expedite appeal. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. §752.21 (2009-10), that appeal was required to be filed with District IV of the Court of Appeals.

 

  • March 19, 2012, the Court of Appeals, District IV, ordered the plaintiffs (respondents) to file a response, by noon on March 21, 2012, to the defendants' (DOJ's) motion to expedite or certify the appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • March 20, 2012, the Circuit Court denied the defendants' motion to stay the March 12, 2012, permanent injunction.

 

“It is my hope that this matter is concluded expeditiously. Continued uncertainty surrounding the conduct of elections represents the potential for irreparable harm to electors and the franchise. An injunction is intended to avoid an irreparable harm. This stay request contends that because the state should prevail on appeal, the injunction is more likely to result in greater harms not contemplated in the injunction,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

 

As previously indicated, both of these cases involve novel constitutional challenges to the voter ID law. Due to the important statewide legal and policy issues at stake, defendants have suggested in their filings that certification of both cases to the Supreme Court would be appropriate. The Department of Justice is counsel for the Governor and members of the Government Accountability Board in this court action.

 

Previous news releases about these filings are available at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/.