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Voting in the Slammer

The Ninth Circuit today agreed to reconsider en banc its astonishing decision that federal law requires a state to let convicted felons vote while still in prison. Last January's panel decision in Farrakhan v. Gregoire is here. The three-judge panel had split 2-1, with fringe Judges Tashima and Reinhardt forming the majority and the more rational Judge McKeown (author of the cross decision reversed today by SCOTUS) in the dissent.  Prior posts are here and here.

It had been reported in the press that Wash. AG was going to skip rehearing en banc and go straight to the Supreme Court. However, on February 12 the court called for briefing on whether to hear the case en banc, apparently without being asked.

Meanwhile, back at SCOTUS, the First Circuit's rejection of the same claim in Simmons v. Galvin is on conference for Friday. The docket has an entry for today, saying, "Letter received from counsel for the respondent. (Distributed)." I can pretty much guess what the letter says.

Update: Lyle Denniston has this post at SCOTUSblog with a link to the letter. I guessed correctly.


Justice Sotomayor couldn't be reached for comment.

I remember back in 2004 reading that a warden at a prison for MDSOs confiscating a number of voter registration cards that were being sent to inmates.

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