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Pa Judge's Ruling Revives 'Taxation Without Representation'

By       Message Linn Washington     Permalink
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Simpson's ruling seemingly divorced the context that Turzai made his boost during a Republican Party meeting attended by some fellow GOP legislators.

Further, other Pa GOP legislators do share Turzai's support for the law as evidenced by ALEC member Daryl Metcalfe and 49 other GOP legislators filing an amicus brief in Simpson's court backing the law.

Judge Simpson did acknowledge "the inconvenience" created by the ID law particularly for the elderly, the infirmed, the homeless and persons unable to access the offices issuing the new ID.

The law also creates ID hurdles for eligible voters released from prison, an impediment not referenced in Simpson's ruling.

But Simpson contended that inconvenience "does not qualify as substantially burdensome to the vast supermajority of registered voters."

Simpson did credit the ACLU, the NAACP and other parties seeking the injunction for doing an "excellent job [of] putting a face" to the burdens by the new ID requirements yet said he could not base his decision on his "sympathy for the witnesses" or his esteem for the plaintiff's lawyers.

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Simpson's ruling sparked a caustic response from Pa State NAACP official John
Jordan who blasted the jurist for disregarding "overwhelming evidence" that the measure was a blatant partisan voter suppression scheme.

"The NAACP is appalled at the decision," Jordan said. "In the early 1960s it was Philadelphia, Mississippi and today it's Philadelphia, Pa."

Pennsylvania, widely seen as a liberal state during the racially fiery pre-Civil War era, was actually a hot bed of racist assaults against its Free Black population -- the largest in the North.

Anti-black actions included an 1837 Pa Supreme Court ruling stripping voting rights from free, tax-paying, land owning blacks and an 1838 change in the state's Constitution barring blacks from voting -- leaving them with taxation-without-representation, the circumstance that spurred America's war of independence from England.

Opponents of Pa's Voter ID measure plan to appeal Simpson's ruling to the State Supreme Court. Additionally, opponents are ramping up campaigns to secure ID's for eligible voters.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)

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