Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Farrakhan v. Gregorie, 623 F.3d 990 (2010)

Seven years ago the Ninth Circuit, in pursuit of its legislative goals and collaterally undermining state law, held that the plaintiff's Complaint alleging his voting rights had been abridged based on felony disenfranchisement under the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. 1973 (2); VRA) could proceed to trial; Farrakhan v. Washington, 338 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2003). The District Court had ruled on summary judgment in favor of defendant Washington state. In the Ninth Circuit reversal and remand, the three judge panel required the trial court to use a different legal test. Years passed while the District Court held hearings, ultimately issuing a second summary judgment in favor of defendants. On appeal, the three judge panel reversed the trial court ruling again; Farrakhan v. Gregorie, 590 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2006). The Ninth Circuit agreed to hear the case en banc. The court reversed the panel and affirmed the summary judgment. But the language of the opinion does not end the litigation. Here is the language of the decision affirming the summary judgment: "[. . . We hold that plaintiffs bringing a section 2 VRA challenge to a felon disenfranchisement law based on the operation of a state's criminal justice system must at least show that the criminal justice system is infected by intentional discrimination or that the felon disenfranchisement law was enacted with such intent. Our ruling is limited to this narrow issue, and we express no view as to any of the other issues raised by the parties and amici. We also leave for another day the question of whether a plaintiff who has made the required showing would necessarily establish that a felon disenfranchisement law violates section 2." If that language is unclear, a reading of the concurring and dissenting opinions is equally opaque. Three other Circuit Courts of Appeal have dismissed this absurd claim alleged in the instant ase. The Voting Rights Act has nothing to do with forbidding felons to vote. That plaintiffs could even state a claim is unimaginable. That the Ninth Circuit would waste time and money on this case confirms the commitment of this court to enacting judicial legislation, eviscerating state law, and entertaining a frivolous law suit.

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