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Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law in the Face of Flawed Attacks by the American Civil Liberties Union

Legal Experts Praise Decision as a Victory for Voter Integrity, Pennsylvania Citizens

News release from The National Center for Public Policy Research

Posted 8/16/2012

Washington, DC – Legal experts with the National Center for Public Policy Research, home of the Voter Identification Task Force, are lauding Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s decision to uphold Pennsylvania’s voter ID law that will protect all Pennsylvanians from voter fraud and will result in just and free future elections.

“Today is a victory for free elections and voter integrity,” said National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof. “Voting is a privilege that many Americans hold sacrosanct. Now Pennsylvania voters can be assured that their votes will not be stolen, and can be confident that election results are fair and accurate.”

Judge Simpson upheld Pennsylvania’s voter ID law over a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU argued unpersuasively that the law would disfranchise more than a million Pennsylvania voters – specifically black, Latino and elderly voters.

“Once again critics of Voter ID lost in court over a legal claim that they knew or should have known was invalid. Today the district court in PA ruled that opponents of Voter ID were wrong to claim that Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law was unlawful and should be enjoined. The court recognized that Pennsylvania acted within its authority to prevent voter fraud and we’re confident this fall the commonsense requirement for Voter ID will be in full effect on election day,” said National Center Adjunct Fellow Horace Cooper, an attorney for former constitutional law professor. “I’m thrilled with Judge Simpson’s ruling. Upholding Pennsylvania’s commonsense voter ID reform will ensure greater confidence in this year’s election outcome and likely lead to higher voter participation for all Pennsylvanians.”

The ACLU’s case was legally, structurally and factually flawed. In their initial complaint, ACLU attorneys ignored the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision Crawford v Marion that upheld an Indiana voter ID law that is substantially similar to Pennsylvania’s law. The Court at that time made clear that states have a legitimate interest in protecting elections from fraud, and that voter ID laws are a commonsense, constitutional way to do so.

“Judge Simpson was right to rejects the ACLU’s specious claims. The ACLU’s case was based on flawed legal reasoning and a debunked advocacy report published by the Brennan Center for Justice,” said Danhof. “The Brennan Center is a George Soros-financed advocacy group with a history of sloppy reporting. Its work has no place in serious legal proceedings.”

“The argument put forward by the left was so weak it didn’t meet the lower threshold necessary even to grant an injunction,” added Cooper. “The Pennsylvania standard for an injunction is similar to the federal standard — the plaintiff ‘must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits [i.e., win at trial], that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.’ In this case, the arguments put forward by the ACLU and other critics of voter ID were not likely to prevail on the merits and demonstrated no irreparable harm, and so the judge recognized that granted relief was not in the public interest. This is a devastating critique of the arguments of the opponents of Voter ID in Pennsylvania.””

The National Center previously issued a press release lambasting the ACLU’s case against Pennsylvania that is available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/PR-PA_Voter_ID_072712.html and a detailed criticism of the ACLU’s legal arguments by General Counsel Justin Danhof is available at www.conservativeblog.org.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. In 2011, it received about two percent of its revenue from corporate sources and the vast majority of its revenue from over 350,000 individual gifts. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or (703) 568-4727 or dalmasi@nationalcenter.org Devon Carlin at (202) 543-4110 x12 or dcarlin@nationalcenter.org

Celebrating Thirty Years 1982 -2012 – The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E.                         Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail: info@nationalcenter.org  , Web: www.nationalcenter.org

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