The things you discover in Google search! I had never realized that an article I had written as editor of Milwaukee Labor Press was used by the winning side in that sizeable US Eastern District Court decision striking down that bizarre Wisconsin Voter ID law.
|Judge Lynn Adelman|
It was a decision so sweeping and imposing judicial review that no legislative remedy is available to Gov. Scott Walker who wanted the limitations in place before the November election. His extremist supporters may fume and rail, as Assembly majority leader Robin Vos assuredly did, but wiser GOP heads actually read the ruling. They seem to be quietly backing off for now.
Of course I am exaggerating the importance of my story’s presence in the trial exhibits. One set of plaintiffs on the winning side submitted 808 academic and journalistic citations, emails, videos and opinions (mine was 187 on their list). If Adelman worked his way through all those exhibits in the case that started many court hearings earlier as “League of United Latin American Citizens, et al” he may have come across it. Who knows?
But I do know his reputation as a thorough judge with a humanistic bent (which infrequently had led to reversals on appeal but seldom with basic constitutional issues). No one has ever claimed he is not scrupulous in gathering research and testimony that directly bears on an issue. That, and the failure to mention the high regard he is held in by the legal community, nor how he was blocked by the GOP in the US senate when nominated to join the appeals court, were among the errors in the recent JS side by side comparison of him with fellow US Judge Rudolph Randa.
Yet frankly, I didn’t remember directly writing on this ridiculous voter ID law, unless someone was reading my mind. So when a friend sent me the trial’s list of exhibits and I was up there, that launched some surprise and memory lane research.
What, I wondered, had I written about to provide evidence for the winning side? I know the right wing likes to beat me up as a flaming leftist, while I think of myself as solidly left – like most of America, I suspect, when they vote. I do understand how partisan our politics have become and how a concern about factual elements can now be used as examples of extremism by RightWisconsin and company. But what had I written?
Since I served as editor the Milwaukee Labor Press for a decade, and that article was from that era, I know the drill. Most of those stories dealt with mundane statistics and meetings, and debates within the labor community over things like highways vs trains, mining vs environment, minority hiring vs nepotism. Yet political hired guns on the right see my union credentials and automatically dismiss any conclusions. So what had I said that they could beat up?
Turns out the winning side in the voter ID case had turned to a deep analysis I did in early 2012 exploring the US Census of 2010 and the enormous growth of the Latino population in Wisconsin. The story is still online.
|My 2012 story emphasized the importance of the Latino vote by|
picturing US Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin (she won) with Latino
activist Jesus Salas and Rep. JoCasta Zamarippa.
I didn’t like to think that a factual study of US Census data, with my particular brand of commentary, would outrage the right, but sure enough it had (my Google search revealed).
The story detailed quite factually the growth of Latino voting power in Wisconsin and suggested that Wisconsin was slowly looking more like Milwaukee, now a minority-majority city with 39% African Americans and 17% Hispanics. How that figures into voter ID becomes obvious, certainly to any public official who can do simple math and look around the corner. These Hispanics voters, both born here and legalized, often work or live in circumstances that do not require driver licenses in the same proportions as white suburbanites, which tilts those photo ID simplistics. They survive poverty circumstances in many cases. They may share homes or have relatives who are undocumented, instilling an extra caution about intrusive GOP sponsored investigations of honest citizens, using nonexistent voter fraud as a legislative excuse to play politics and instill fear.
|The May Day march of 2011 underscored a growing young|
Hispanic population willing to demonstrate for immigration
“You can already hear that particularly bigoted breed of Charlie Sykes and CRG conservatives scoff that all this (growth) has to be the ‘illegals’ taking those valuable jobs of cleaning out cesspools or picking corn that whites born here must surely be clamoring for.
“But the statistical breakdowns reflect a quite different reality – the variety and vitality of Latinos in this state. What the census analysts describe as those with ‘Hispanic roots,’ society now recognizes as leaders in entrepreneurship, culture expansion and community building -- business owners, plant workers, housewives, production experts, legalized here or born here. Many in Milwaukee are indeed our poorer citizens, in a city that suffers staggering rates of unemployment for minorities. But simultaneously they are filling schools and churches and gaining clout. A great number of their children born in this county have now reached voting age.”
It was a 2012 recognition that has grown in validity, reflecting a hot reality in the 2014 voter photo ID decision.
No wonder Walker wanted voter ID in place before the November election to cripple nature and normal expansion -- and make it difficult for his social and intellectual opponents to vote him out.
Frankly, my story was an infinitesimal part of the case. I sure wish I had access to the depth and breadth of examples of social and employment discrimination facing minorities that Adelman had. Note how he not only drew the right conclusions but pushed a strong dose of sanity toward those overwrought Walker proponents:
“Given the evidence presented at trial showing that Blacks and Latinos are more likely than
whites to lack an ID, it is difficult to see how an amendment to the photo ID requirement
could remove its disproportionate racial impact and discriminatory result,” he said, asserting that there would be instant hearings before him if the legislature attempted any such abusive amendment.