Jan 6, 2010

the franchise for felons?

A little over a year ago, I blogged about an LD topic that led to quite interesting debates: whether felons should have the right to vote. In Washington, if an appeals court ruling holds up, they soon may.
The ruling, handed down Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, found that Washington's criminal-justice system was so "infected" with racial discrimination that a ban on felon voting violated civil-rights protections.

The state hoped to have the case heard during the U.S. Supreme Court's fall session, McKenna told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Meanwhile, the state also plans to file by next week a motion to stall enactment of the court ruling. McKenna said courts routinely grant such motions if a case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I used to think it was obvious that felons should be denied the franchise--after all, they'd abused the law, so why let them shape it?--but in a democracy, the law isn't perfect, and it's even possible that laws can be shaped with disenfranchisement in mind. At any rate, Vermont and Maine, the two states that allow felons to vote, haven't fallen into the sea... yet.

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