Thursday, February 07, 2008

Did Hazleton's lead attorney illegally suppress votes?

This is rich. The story is a little over a month old but needs to be posted. Kris Kobach is the lead attorney for the city of Hazleton in defending itself in our lawsuit challenging their anti-immigrant ordinance as unconstitutional. (That's worked out pretty well for the city.)

Kobach also happens to be the chair of the Kansas Republican Party. It seems around the holidays Señor Kobach sent a gleeful email to GOP supporters in Kansas gloating about the party's success in "caging" voters.
To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!

Caging voters is a ploy in which a party sends registered mail to people asking them to respond to verify their address. If they do not respond, the party then goes to the bureau of elections and challenges the person's voter registration. This is typically used against the poor, minorities, and college students.

Trouble is, it's illegal. Oops. In the 1980s, a consent decree banned this practice.

Apparently, the exact method used impacts the legality of the practice, so we cannot say for sure that the Kansas tactic was illegal. You can find more coverage at Blue Tide Rising, here and here. also has a thorough explanation of caging.

Aaah, it's an election year. And in some corners, it's that special time to keep minorities, the poor, and other marginalized folks away from the ballot box.

Andy in Harrisburg

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Hazleton, the ACLU's victory last year over the illegal immigration ordinances will likely be overturned in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, thank God. Judge Wake of the federal District Court in Arizona ruled against the illegal immigrant court advocates and businesses, leaving the state free to enforce its laws against the employment of illegal immigrants. A wave of similar laws is expected to sweep the country. By the time any congressional action can take place, caravans of illegal immigrants will be crossing the Rio Grande, and there won't be anyone around to give amnesty to. The PA ACLU can kiss its 2 million dollars goodbye. Score 1 for the good guys. The bad news is that there will be no Christmas bonus for you this year, Andy.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing....Oops!

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I repeat the blogs statement on Munley's ruling, so it will be fresh in the minds of the readers when the Third Circuit Court overturns it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Speak out in support of fair treatment of immigrants
The Hazleton decision is an eloquent affirmation of the rights that protect all people under our Constitution. To add my one of my own favorite quotes from the decision:
We cannot say clearly enough that persons who enter this country without legal authorization are not stripped immediately of all their rights because of this single act … The United States Supreme has consistently interpreted [the 14th Amendment] to apply to all people present in the United States, whether they were born here, immigrated here through legal means, or violated federal law to enter the country.

Thank you, Judge Munley. But unfortunately, your court alone cannot protect due process rights in this country. Anyone who's ever taken bong hits (for Jesus or not) or run a red light knows that our laws often express our ideals more than our reality, and they're an important recourse when injustice is afoot. But the day-to-day decency and regard for our neighbors (be it those next door, or those across the borders) requires more than laws. It requires our voices and our actions.

On June 3, hundreds attended a rally in Hazleton on June 3 in support of Mayor Barletta and his anti-immigrant legislation. A Peruvian-born newspaper publisher (an American citizen) was harrassed at the event and escorted away by police for his own safety. More rallies of this kind are being planned across the state throughout the summer and early fall.

Lacking comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level, and with rising frustrations at the local level, we need to take action to protect the rights of immigrants. I'm talking about those of us who care about the constitution, due process and fair treatment of those living within our borders, and who oppose actions that lead to discriminatory treatment of our friends, co-workers and neighbors.

So, if you think this Hazleton decision is a good thing, speak out. Our state and our country need your voice to be heard as much as we need Judge Munley's.

Jess in Philly

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judicial Watch files brief in favor of town's immigration ordinances
Chad Groening - OneNewsNow - 2/22/2008 8:00:00 AM

A public-interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption has filed an amicus brief in support of an appeal to a ruling by a federal judge that threw out two city ordinances of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

The city of Hazleton was originally sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, some unnamed illegal aliens, and other groups that support illegal immigration. The two disputed ordinances would have fined employers in the city who knowingly hired illegal aliens, and landlords who knowingly harbored them.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch -- which filed the amicus brief in support of Hazleton's appeal -- says "these are matters perfectly within the purview of local communities, and there's nothing that preempted or contravenes federal law as the ACLU and its ilk suggests."

Fitton notes that similar statutes have been upheld in Arizona and Missouri. "One would think that the appellate court would take a look at the decisions in the other jurisdictions and see that there is strong basis in law to uphold the Hazleton statutes," he continues. "And frankly the lower-court decision is flawed that overturned the Hazleton statutes."

The Judicial Watch president says the appeal is being heard by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and his group hopes to have a ruling by the end of the year.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please look at another tenant registration proposal, intented to help with state-residency tax enforcement. I can find no reference to such a law, apart from the Hazelton case. Are such landlord-reporting laws common?

Thank you,
William O. Douglas

12:27 PM  

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