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Legal expert: Voter ID lawsuits to quickly move to Wis. Supreme Court

Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Legal expert: Voter ID lawsuits to quickly move to Wis. Supreme Court

By Jon Byman with the WTMJ News Team. CREATED Mar 13, 2012

MILWAUKEE - Now that two circuit court judges have issued injunctions stopping Wisconsin's voter ID law, one Marquette University law professor believes the cases could be heading on a fast track to the state's highest court.

"I think that both of these cases are going to wind up very promptly before the (Wisconsin) Supreme Court," said Marquette University Law Professor Rick Essenberg.

He told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" that the legal challenge by the State Attorney General's office is likely to skip the appeals courts entirely and go straight to the Supreme Court.

"This is a matter of statewide importance.  This is something that the State Supreme Court has the final word on, and they're going to use the procedural option that's available to them to try and push that case up to the State Supreme Court as quickly as possible."

Essenberg said he was surprised by the short length of the rulings by two judges who have stopped the law, for now.

"Why should a court tell the legislature and the governor that this is a law they can't have?  That places upon a court the burden of explanation, and I didn't see it in either of these cases."

He doubts, however, that will happen quickly enough for the law to be in effect by the April election.

Groups are challenging the law basically claiming that it presents too high a burden for some people to cast a ballot. 

Essenberg says even if you assume the courts agree with that contention, they may not throw out the law, and may instead order lawmakers to do more to help people get identification.