Big news from Florida in the controversy over the state’s removal of ineligible non-citizens from voter registration rolls: In oral arguments this morning, federal judge Robert Hinkle (a Clinton appointee) denied the Justice Department’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the state’s removal program. It’s another stinging loss for Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
As I previously pointed out on National Review Online, the Justice Department’s claim that Florida’s program violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was spurious. The restrictions in the NVRA on removing voters within 90 days of a federal election do not apply to individuals who were never eligible and who committed a federal felony by registering. The arguments made in Florida’s brief paralleled these arguments.
Judge Hinkle apparently agreed, rejecting the absurd claim by the Justice Department’s lawyer, John Bert Russ, that the non-citizen purge violates federal law. Hinkle said that “leaving an ineligible voter on the list is not a solution. People need to know we are running an honest election.” Permitting known non-citizens to vote would result in “irreparable harm” to eligible voters.
Florida was represented in court by one of the best lawyers in the civil-rights field, Michael Carvin, who was also one of the lawyers who argued against Obamacare before the Supreme Court in April. Not only did Justice lose on its bogus NVRA argument, it never even made a claim in its lawsuit that Florida was also violating the Voting Rights Act, a claim it had made in the media and in a demand letter sent to Florida.
Once again, we see politics and ideology driving the legal decision-making at Justice, as opposed to nonpartisan, objective analysis of the facts and the law.