Tag Archives: arguments

Supreme Court Hears Photo ID Arguments

By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Supreme Court was asked Wednesday to decide whether the state’s voter ID law deprives people of the right to vote or if it’s a necessary safeguard to prevent election fraud. And in a related issue, the court must determine whether a city-issued library card with a photo can be used as identification to vote.
The court heard arguments from the city of Memphis and two residents who are challenging the law. The city and the individual plaintiffs sued the state last year after election officials refused to accept a city-issued library card with a photo as voter identification.
The state attorney general’s office argued that that the library card is issued by the city while the state’s voter ID law passed in 2011 requires either a state-issued photo ID, federal identification or an ID issued from another state. Janet M. Kleinfelter, a deputy attorney general, also said the law was not so onerous that it would deprive people of the right to vote.
But attorneys representing the city said the votes of 650 people have not been counted in the last two elections because they lacked the proper identification.

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Some Concerned About Making Court Arguments Public

A recent Tennessee Supreme Court rule change that will make oral arguments from all of the state’s appeals courts available online has delivered a shock to some appeals court judges and family law attorneys, reports The Tennessean.
Under current rules, oral arguments from the Court of Appeals, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court are available by request and for a nominal fee — usually about $20.
But in a little-noticed policy change in the name of “transparency and openness of the courts” expected to take effect this spring, digital recordings of all oral arguments in appeals courts will be available online at no cost.
The action has led some, including Appeals Court Judge Frank Clement, to voice concern that it could complicate the lives of children whose parents are going through messy divorces, not to mention “cast a dark cloud” over the parents themselves, according to a letter Clement recently wrote to the high court.
“I’m very concerned about Internet bullying, harassing and abuse,” Clement said in a telephone interview. “This is not about the courts keeping secrets. It’s about preventing children from being abused and bullied.”
Michele Wojciechowski, a Tennessee Supreme Court spokeswoman, said giving the public open access to the courts is important. That said, she noted that the court is now devising a way to “mitigate possible abuse.” The court will catalog complaints over the program’s one-year trial period.

Photo ID Law Argued Before Court of Appeals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys for two Memphis voters told a panel of the state Appeals Court they should strike down a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls because it disenfranchises voters.
Two Memphis residents who lack state-issued photo identification say their votes in the August primary were not counted. Attorneys at an Appeals Court hearing Thursday argued that the new law violates the state constitution, which lists the requirements to vote as proof of age, citizenship, residency and registration.
Attorneys for the state argued the new law is not burdensome and is a reasonable way to ensure the integrity of the ballot box. They said that high voter turnout since the law was put in place in January shows that it does not discourage voters.