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ACLU & 9th Circuit Court of Appeal--do they have no shame?

2748 Views 88 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  LANMaster
It's not about the punch cards
Debra Saunders (archive)

September 17, 2003 | Print | Send

The infamous Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Monday that the very "punch-card" ballots that were good enough to elect Gray Davis governor in November aren't good enough to be used in an election that might recall him.

The three-judge panel's rationale: An Oct. 7 recall would violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because six counties representing 44 percent of the voters would use punch-card ballots, which are deemed less reliable than other ballots. The ruling noted that "the affected counties contain a significantly higher percentage of minorities than the other counties" and cited a study that found that minority voters had more problems voting using punch cards than white, non-Hispanic voters.

The panel ruled that the recall election should be postponed until March 2, 2004, when all counties should have replaced their punch-card systems. The judges also noted that former California Secretary of State Bill Jones, a Republican, "officially" deemed punch cards to be "unacceptable."

Wrong, bristled Jones on Monday. Jones noted that after Florida 2000, he pushed for California to modernize its balloting systems by 2006. The ACLU and other organizations sued the state to dump punch-card ballots more quickly. A federal judge in Los Angeles picked March 2004 as the deadline -- and the parties agreed.

"If I had thought these systems were so egregious, I would not have" suggested keeping punch cards until 2006, said Jones. He asked: If the ACLU believed that punch-card ballots disenfranchised voters, "why didn't they appeal that decision" for the 2002 elections?

The answer: As far as I'm concerned, the issue wasn't replacing the punch cards. It was that the ACLU wanted to muck up the recall election, and the Ninth Circuit wanted to help.

As UCLA law professor Daniel Lowenstein noted, "There are many elections scheduled for November 2003, including a recall election in the city of Lynwood" (which lies in one of the six counties, Los Angeles) "and I'm not aware of anyone who's objected to the use of punch-card ballots in those systems."

A former aide to Jerry Brown when he was secretary of state, Lowenstein described the Monday ruling as "one of the worst instances of judicial interference with elections that I've ever seen, and I've been active in this field for about 30 years."

Elections attorney Chip Nielsen warned that the replacement ballot systems could be worse than punch cards -- because voters and registrars aren't familiar with them. Lowenstein agreed that the new ballot systems could be as problematic as punch cards.

This is another Ninth Circuit horror story. Consider how in 1996, federal judge Thelton Henderson -- a former ACLU board member -- unilaterally overruled Proposition 209, which ended racial preferences in state hiring, contracting and admissions. Proposition 209, which was approved by voters, was based on 1964 federal civil rights law. A Ninth Circuit panel overturned the ruling on appeal. It should act likewise -- and quickly -- with this can of worms and spare California from the U.S. Supreme Court stepping in. As Nielsen noted, this decision spells "pure chaos."

While the ruling noted the need for "orderly" elections, it in itself is a recipe for disorder.

Should counties throw out the absentee ballots of those who have already voted -- or should they let every vote count? No one knows.

On the very first paragraph of the 66-page ruling, the Ninth Circuit judges misquoted Bill Jones, who never said the punch-card system was "unacceptable." (He said it was outdated.) They took a decades-old voting mechanism that helped elect the presidents who appointed them and decided that it was so unreliable as to justify their decision to postpone a scheduled election in which some citizens already had voted.

If punch ballots are so "unacceptable," they should recuse themselves, having won their place on the bench through such a discredited system. But if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for the recall.
If there was ever a more stark reason to demosntrate what is wrong with the left's way of thnking, this is certainly it. This is the reason Democrats are so insistent upon getting liberal judges on the courts. They would never sell this type of crap to Americans by popular vote--they must achieve what they seek to achieve by judicial fiat.

Is there anyone of you liberals that can say you agree with the ACLU lawsuit and this decision?

Rep? bassetman? combsdon? I'd like to hear what you think.

Today, former California Governor Jerry Brown (a liberal and a Democrat), to his credit, came out and said the decision by the 9th circuit is wrong. Why? Because we've used the same machines for the last 40 years--he was elected using them and so were the governors that appointed the 3 idiots from the 9th Circuit that came up with this abortion of a decision and the cards were used less than a year ago to elect Gumby (aka "Grey Davis"). Is that really so hard to understand?

Well, now the 9th Circuit En Banc (all eleven judges) are being asked to review this decision. I would have some hope they would reverse this absurdity, but the 9th Circuit is the most liberal court in the country and the most often reversed, so I I'm not holding my breath.

BTW--this is the same court that decided the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional--a decision that had even many Democrats criticized.
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I guess the punch card system is beyond a lot of people's comprehension! :rolleyes:'s the problem! :D Maybe "Punch Card 101" should be offered before all elections! :D
Originally posted by angelize56:
I guess the punch card system is beyond a lot of people's comprehension! :rolleyes:'s the problem! :D Maybe "Punch Card 101" should be offered before all elections! :D
I think it speaks volumes about the sub-standard intellect of the average Californian....*glances over to Orange County*
In all seriousness...I agree with the Mouldy one here. The system currently in place has been used for the last 4 decades. There is no reason why it should be viewed as unreliable now.
I suspect you will not find many here that support the absurd contradiction of thought and supporting conclusions given by the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals panel in this case!
The blatant transparent misuse of Judicial Power makes a mockery of our Judicial system and furthers the cause of very few. What do statements like "found that minority voters had more problems voting using punch cards than white, non-Hispanic voters" say for the minorities in general? I don't even want to go there! These people (Judges) were appointed to uphold the constitution not blur lines with non-sensible applications based on possible future problems in a system that has served this country adequately for 40 years.
Is it not up to the States to determine how they will hold elections and what method of documentation is used! What is to happen with the 300,000 absentee ballots already cast? Are they to be disenfranchised because of a possible future problem?

Maybe the ACLU and the court's next huddle together they will want to recall EVERYONE ever elected by punch card voting! :D
Sep 18, 8:20 AM EDT

Calif. Seeks to Hold Recall on Schedule

Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The fate of the gubernatorial recall election was back in the hands of an appeals court as candidates ramped up their rhetoric in anticipation of a reversal that would reinstate the historic Oct. 7 vote.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to overturn a three-judge panel's ruling earlier this week that postponed the vote, possibly until March 2.

Lawyers for Shelley said not holding the election as scheduled would produce a "constitutional crisis" and would be unfair to voters who have already cast absentee ballots.

"Moreover, the panel cannot downplay the injury to the public interest the order would inflict by saying they are just 'postponing the election for a few months,'" the lawyers wrote.

On Monday, a panel from the same court ruled that California's planned use of punch-card ballots - the same kind used in the contested 2000 presidential election - would disenfranchise thousands of Californians.

Shelley said the vote must go forward because 375,000 absentee votes have been cast, the state has sent out 2 million absentee ballots and California's 58 counties have mailed out 13 million election pamphlets.

That growing mountain of absentee ballots could be tossed out if the election is delayed, and waste $30 million in printing and postage costs, said Contra Costa County Clerk Stephen Weir.

Absentee voting in what could be a tight race worries both Democrat and Republican operatives, who fret about thousands of voters who won't be able to change their minds to meet late-changing circumstances.

For Democrats, the concern is that some voters who might be persuaded to keep Gov. Gray Davis in office have already cast absentee ballots to oust him. For some Republicans, the fear is that supporters of one candidate have already voted and aren't able to vote again if their candidate drops out.

The 9th Circuit is not expected to decide before Friday whether to appoint an 11-judge panel to rehear the case. While such hearings are extremely rare, they usually result in a reversal of the smaller panel's opinion.

Tom Hiltachk, a Rescue California lawyer, said it would be unprecedented for the full court to postpone the vote three weeks shy of Election Day. But he acknowledged that nothing is predictable in this campaign.

"The last couple of weeks have been like treading on quicksand," he said. "Just when you think the ground under you has firmed up a bit, it changes."

The latest judicial sideshow in the recall drama came as candidates appeared unwilling to risk letting the campaign trail grow cold. Voters are being asked if Davis should be ousted and who should replace him from a field of 135 candidates.

"If you're upset about the court's decision, I'm not wild about it either," Davis told a friendly audience at a question-and-answer session in Sacramento on Wednesday night. (He's probably elated! :D )

At a debate in Los Angeles, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the leading Democrat replacement candidate, elevated his criticism of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, for skipping the forum in favor of a later debate in which questions will be provided in advance.

Bustamante came under fire from Republican Sen. Tom McClintock, and independent columnist Arianna Huffington for skirting campaign finance laws and accepting Indian casino money. Green Party candidate Peter Camejo also attended.

Schwarzenegger, denounced the debate as a warmup to the "Super Bowl" next Wednesday at California State University at Sacramento. Earlier in the day, he welcomed newly sworn-in citizens in Los Angeles, and reminisced about the day 20 years ago when he became a U.S. citizen.

"I was so excited, so enthusiastic, that right afterward I went home and wrapped myself in a huge American flag," he said. (Is that legal??? :D )
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Whoowieee, glad I've covered my @ss on this issue.
Like I said , before...if there is a legally gathered petition to recall,
then have a recall. Since the voting system in place is the same one that elected Davis, I don't see a problem there. I also don't know California politics that well, and don't intend to ever live there. I hope this craziness in Ca. doesn't spread, perhaps my suggestion to avoid the noonday sun should be looked into as the Dems there are looney and the Reps are rabid(just a thought :) )

Chris, you have made a lot of noise against democracy as a form of government. I do realize that the US is a federal republic with democratically elected officials. Perhap this is merely payback for bluring the differences between a 'true democracy' versus a democratically elected representitive form that exists.You have denounced the concept of democracy in the form of equal voice in decision making while not fully imaging our system of governing as a democratically elected assymbly.

The commotion in Ca that you support certainly appears to be the endless array of competing and conflicting voices (all shouting at once) that you have denigrated in the past.

I think you have a double standard , Chris, when it benefits you. :eek:

Thank God, Ohio is not California. ;)


(Chris, don't forget your umbrella this morning :) )
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^ There's my Jack....right on time....stirring the pot as usual! :D Good morning Jack! :) Take care! Sparky :)
Good mornin' Sparky :D

You're up early, or are you up late :)

Posting in the morning is always fun, eh :D
Up early! :D Was hoping to catch you on! :p :D
Angel :)

I can see that Ca is in turmoil.
How are things in Michigan?

We're pretty stable in Ohio, or at least we think so ;)
Well Michigan is facing a budget crisis of October 1st Medicaid is cutting out dental, podiatry, chiropractic and hearing aid services to beneficiaries over age 21. :down: As I said elsewhere....there go my dentures! :D
Angel :)

Sorry to here about the social services being cut. Seems like the cuts are often against those that need them the most but are able to defend themselves the least :(

Ohio lost it's 'rainy day' fund long ago. Actually when the oil industry raised fuel prices 50% , helping Bush demonstrate there was a recession looming , when he was running for nomination(thought I couldn't leave Bush out of a conversation, didn't were right :D )

There have been some cutbacks, I don't think they have been too deep, yet. Haven't seen much in the local paper on social services issues.

Sorry to hear about your teef ( :D ) I just had some pasted back in (ouch $$$)
My brother-in-law just had a tooth removed to the tune of $226! Maybe someone should regulate dental fees! :D Can you imagine if someone on Medicaid has the need for all their teeth to be removed and get dentures....can you imagine now they will spend the rest of their lives without that needed care. :eek: Dental only covers "treatment of pain and infection" now.....I wonder if that includes extractions?
Oops! Hijacked Mulder's thread! :D
Angel :)

That's democracy ;)
Oops! Hijacked Mulder's thread!
Hey no problem! It was just Mulders typical rant against politics as usual. If he read the decision he would see that they are using the supreme courts Bush Vs Gore presidential decision to back up the delay. Its payback time. :D The whole recall seems to be a circus anyway.

All dental is expensive. Even with a healthcare plan. Mine pays only 50% for major dental (crowns/plates).

Too bad Michigan can't use the money for health care that they are planning to spend giving every 7th grader a laptop or hand held device.

I don't think kids need these at their age. Most schools presently have computers that the kids can use while in class.
Originally posted by columbo:
In all seriousness...I agree with the Mouldy one here. The system currently in place has been used for the last 4 decades. There is no reason why it should be viewed as unreliable now.
OMG! No one else caught this historical event :p

BTW, I agree too :D
Originally posted by Lurker1:
Hey no problem! It was just Mulders typical rant against politics as usual. If he read the decision he would see that they are using the supreme courts Bush Vs Gore presidential decision to back up the delay. Its payback time. :D The whole recall seems to be a circus anyway.
Well, I'm not going to go into detail about the Bush v. Gore decision and what it held. But take my word for it, the decision by the 9th Circuit doesn't in any way square with the decision by the Supreme Court. I think you'll find lawyers on both sides of the political fence scratching their heads on that one. But I do agree with you that citing Bush v. Gore is a snub of the Supreme Court by three liberal judges who routinely get reversed because of "legislate from the bench" types of decisions they make. This is there chance to launch one across the bow of the US Supreme Court and they took it.

In a nut shell, The US Supreme Court decision of Bush v. Gore was about the method of counting the votes and the procedures enacted by the legislature for recounts. The court said that it was up to the legislature to decide the rules for elections and that the Florida Kangaroo Court had stepped in as a "mini-legislative branch" and started running the election itself (two Democrats on that court agreed and criticized their own court in a dissenting opinion). That's a very abreviated version of the decision, but it is far more complex in the analysis.

This 9th Circuit decision here attacks the method of voting which is clearly for the legislature to decide. In essence, they are doing exactly what the Florida Court did--taking over the duties of the legislature to determine how California elections should be run (and they did it by misquoting the Secretary of State). So in that regard, they are correct in relying on Bush v. Gore---the abortion of a decision by the Florida Supreme Court is the one they rely on, actually. But they couldn't possibly be relying on the US Supreme Court's decision because what they've done is exactly what the Supreme Court criticized the Florida SC for doing--stepping into the shoes of the legislative branch of the government--something typically done by liberal judges.
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