Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—February 19

(Brendan McDermid/REUTERS)

2020—An Eleventh Circuit panel rules (in Jones v. Governor of Florida) that Florida law that conditions the restoration of a felon’s voting rights on his paying all fines, fees, and restitution imposed as part of his sentence violates that felon’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause if the felon is “genuinely unable to pay those obligations.” The panel somehow casts Florida’s system of re-enfranchisement as “punish[ing] a class of felons based only on their wealth,” when Florida is instead requiring that felons satisfy the terms of their sentences before their voting rights are restored.

In September 2020, the en banc Eleventh Circuit will overturn this ruling (by a 6-4 vote).

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