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August 17, 2012 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Viviette Applewhite fears she'll never be able to vote again. But the 93-year-old isn't giving up. The lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, with Applewhite as the lead plaintiff, could be headed to the state Supreme Court. "If I live to see it, I'm going to be there," she said. Applewhite, who testified July 25, said she was surprised by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr.'s ruling. "He was really listening and paying attention," she said. "I really thought he was not going to pass it. " Simpson, in his decision, said he was moved by the witnesses' testimony but concluded that the plaintiffs did not establish that "disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.
NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By Jessica Parks, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The day after a judge upheld Pennsylvania's new voter identification law, the lead plaintiff in the suit seeking to block the law went to a PennDot office and was issued the photo ID card she needs to vote. Nothing has changed since Viviette Applewhite, 93, testified in July. The law stands. She still doesn't have a driver's license or Social Security card. The name on her birth certificate is still different from the name on her other documents - all of which, under the law, should have barred her from getting her photo ID. But at precisely 1:16 p.m. Thursday, she got it anyway.
NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By Annette John-Hall, Inquirer Columnist
Surprise, surprise. A Commonwealth Court judge rejected the challenge to Pennsylvania's voter ID law. I can't even say I'm shocked. Angry? Darned right I am. But shocked? Truth is, I didn't expect any good would come out of the well-intentioned effort by a coalition of lawyers to appeal a law ginned up to prevent fraud but that in and of itself perpetrates the worst kind of fraud. Proving, once more, that "we haven't achieved full democracy, and the struggle for the right to vote is the history of that," says Lorraine Minnite, a Rutgers-Camden professor and author of The Myth of Voter Fraud . All we have to do is look at the Corbett administration's systematic chipping away of programs that reduce working-class citizens to poor and the poor to downright destitute to figure out what's going on here.
NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By Patrick Kerkstra, For The Inquirer
A week ago I wrote that the state's voter identification law had proven in Commonwealth Court to be morally indefensible. Well, morality doesn't seem to have much to do with the law, at least so far as Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. was concerned. "I do not have the luxury of deciding this issue based on my sympathy for the witnesses or my esteem for counsel," he wrote in an opinion released Wednesday that upheld the voter ID requirement. "Rather, I must analyze the law, and apply it. " But what's been missing from the entire voter ID debate isn't sympathy, it's empathy.
NEWS
August 3, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. - Jurors have awarded more than $1 million to a New Jersey trooper who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lawyer for retired Detective Sgt. 1st Class Brian Royster says jurors in Essex County on Wednesday found that the State Police and Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes violated the act. Royster, 48, sued in 2005, claiming that cases pending with the equal-employment unit were stalled and troopers accused of misconduct had been allowed to...
NEWS
August 3, 2012 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - A lawyer for plaintiffs said the state's new voter identification law should be blocked from taking effect because as many as one million people lack proper identification and could be prevented from voting on Election Day, while a Commonwealth attorney said the law should stand because it places no special burdens on any class of people. Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said not only will the law disenfranchise the petitioners that he represents, but the Commonwealth has agreed there is no evidence of in person voter fraud - the very basis on which the law was approved.
NEWS
August 1, 2012 | Associated Press
NEW YORK - Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of 9/11 victims for aiding in the terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended Monday in a largely symbolic decision. Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center, told the New York Daily News that she was pleased with Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas' recommendation.
NEWS
July 11, 2012
Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, and seven other local plaintiffs filed an appeal Monday opposing the state's latest Republican-drawn redistricting plan. The most recent maps - released June 8 - would divide Montgomery County into eight Senate and 19 House districts, none of which lies entirely within the county, and cut district lines through several townships and boroughs. The plaintiffs called the plan "overtly political" and argued that it violates a state constitutional mandate to keep counties and cities together in one representative district "unless absolutely necessary.
NEWS
July 10, 2012 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
The city of Camden wants a judge to bar a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union from making public confidential information he received anonymously about Police Department Internal Affairs investigations. A disc containing the sensitive data was mailed to Alexander Shalom's ACLU office in Newark in May, according to court documents. It is now the focus of a legal dispute in civil litigation brought by nearly 100 low-level drug dealers who claim they were illegally targeted by a group of dishonest Camden officers subsequently convicted on corruption charges.
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