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Judge’s “opinion really went over the top:” Voter ID decision to be appealed

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MADISON (WITI) -- A federal judge on Tuesday, April 29th struck down the state's Voter ID Law -- and one day later, Wisconsin's Attorney General is calling the decision extreme, and riddled with errors. J.B. Van Hollen says the judge was trying to be "super Governor."

"His opinion really went over the top," Van Hollen told FOX6 News on Wednesday, April 30th.

Van Hollen says Judge Lynn Adelman's opinion is an example of judicial activism -- making policy from the bench.

"Photo ID laws can be constitutional and they can be constitutional if our elected Legislature or elected governor determine in their policy-making decisions that it is important to protect our right to vote. It's not up for Judge Adelman to impose himself as a 'super governor' or a 'super Legislature' and question the propriety or reasonableness of those decisions," Van Hollen said.

Wisconsin's Voter ID Law, known as Act 23, was passed along party lines in 2011, amid loud opposition.

It was only in place for one election -- the 2012 primary.

Since then, it's been tied up in federal and state lawsuits.

In his decision, Judge Adelman argued the law caused "substantial" harm to "300,000-plus citizens."

"He's made many errors in his decision. Not just errors that I think are the wrong legal decisions, but ones that clearly are the wrong legal decisions based on precedent," Van Hollen said.

Adelman wrote: "It is absolutely clear that Act 23 will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

"There doesn't have to be evidence of voter fraud. That the governor and the Legislature, elected by the people to make these policy decisions can say the appearance of voter fraud can cause people who are lawfully entitled to vote to not vote -- that actually suppresses their right to vote," Van Hollen said.

The Wisconsin Legislature used Indiana's law as their model when drafting the Voter ID measure.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's Voter ID Law as constitutional.

Van Hollen says that's why he's confident it will ultimately be found constitutional.

"We're going to appeal that to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the next level of federal court, and we strongly believe his decision will be struck down or at least stayed," Van Hollen said.

30 states in the United States have some form of Voter ID Law -- including 12 that require a photo ID.

At least a dozen other states have pending or proposed laws in the Legislature.


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