September 16, 2010

Solicitor General Files Very Important Invitation Brief in First Circuit Felon Disenfranchisement Case

Via SCOTUSBlog, comes this invitation brief expressing the United States's views on whether the Court should take Simmons v. Galvin, raising the question whether disenfranchisement laws aimed at currently incarcerated prisoners and that may have a racially disparate impact can violate section 2 of the VRA.

The government takes the view that the Court should not take the case. First the government argues there is no conflict in the Circuits, given that the only case to the contrary, from the Ninth Circuit, is being heard en banc. Second, and more importantly, the government takes the position that Section 2 does not apply to felon disenfranchisement claims (that is, the First Circuit got it right), at least as to currently incarcerated felons. For those expecting the Obama Administration to be out in front on this issue, they will be disappointed. I, on the other hand, think that all such cases are best kept away from the current Court.

Posted by Rick Hasen at September 16, 2010 12:53 PM