: a writ of superior court to call up the records of an inferior court or a body acting in a quasi-judicial capacity
- … filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in effect, asked that Court to review Sam’s cases.
Full transcript here:
This week, the Supreme Court heard Oral Arguments – basically an interview of both sides- to decide whether or not Ohio’s voter roll purges are legal. It was an interesting look at the factors involved, and I learned a lot- about the process and the Court’s dispositions. This case – and the small sliver of the law it focuses on, is a little confusing, and somewhat contradictory- it says that the primary purpose of the law is to promote the fundamental right to vote, and that discriminatory laws can hurt voter participation. It does, in the last line of purpose mention, maintaining accurate voter registration rolls. It goes on to describe a minimum legal process for voter roll purges, which are to be conducted for only because of 1. death or 2. moving out of the area. It explicitly states- the reason for a purge cannot be failure to vote, (use it or lose it privilege of voting) It goes on to describe a minimum process- sending of a forward able post card after a missed election. If this is not returned- and it actually says on the card that you don’t have to return it, you have 2 federal elections to vote or you will be a part of the voter roll purges.
It seemed to me, that while the actions of Ohio might fit the letter of the law- it clearly violates the intent of the law. A sub process, meant to give a nod to a real concern, the expansion of voter roll lists in size, causes a law meant to expand voter registration access, and prevent discrimination in voting, to decrease voter registration access, and to purge disproportionately a sizable minority- black Americans by a 2 to 1 margin. The turn in this program also swings on the word reasonable program to maintain the voter rolls. These cards, which trigger the countdown to purging, and are supposed to be a safeguard, are returned less than 20% of the time, in 1.5 million sendings. Were this program to be a reasonable program, the managers would note the low return rate- the Congressionally mandated minimum program, does not really mean much about whether a person has moved or is dead- it just says they are in the large majority of Ohioans- 70 + % uninterested in the post card which is sent to them, which is even forward able- so there is no return if the people don’t live there. Thus- I found myself in agreement with both Roberts and Alito- the meat of the argument by the applicant was clearly the inadequate nature of the confirmation process. It is noted, that 10 plus other states send a non-forwardable card in addition, which gets returned by the post office and tells the state concretely- that person doesn’t live there.
At no point is compelling state interest- Thurgood Marshall’s term in Richardson v Ramirez, demonstrated by the state as to the necessity of the purge. Why is the need of the state to have lean and trim voter rolls more important than the essential right of the citizen to vote, so that the overpurging of citizens; ie; their loss of their vote in election- in the numbers of hundreds, thousands tens or hundreds of thousands is worth it? Some mention is made of “dead people” voting, or people who have moved voting out of territory, but no evidence or even some sort of reasoned extrapolation as to how often that happens or on what scale. Which means the state is taking actions
The act itself affirms the right to NOT vote- and that registration should not be taken away for exercising this ( I also agree with Justice Roberts- compulsory voting, or the like, is a good idea, though the amicus brief about it being a first amendment action also has merits.) Here, the effect of Ohio’s implementation or defacto law- is that it is taken away for not voting, plus the non return of a post card that says, return is not mandatory explicitly. Justice Sotomayer, also notes, that only 1 notice is sent at the beginning of the process- no notification of actually being purged is sent, to allow the citizen to correct the issue. It seems clear , here that the action of the state in regards to a law meant to expand voting, in fact decreases access, and judging from their failure to take steps that other states have taken, that this may be evidence of intent to reduce voter rolls, as this is known to be an advantage for the Republican party.
A quick overview of some contextual pieces which were NOT mentioned in the transcript:
6.Ohio’s CVAP percentage register – the number of age voters, registered actually dropped from 95% to about 90%- only 5 states did this happen, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. (NVRA report) In actual numbers from 8.1 million in 2008 to 7.9 million despite small population growth.
If you get really ambitious, the actual law they debate is here- but it is boring, confusing and long, even if you are really interested in the stuff.
National Voter Registration Act.