Recently in Collateral Consequences Category

Brett Kendall reports in the WSJ:

WASHINGTON--The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether North Carolina can bar individuals on the state's sex-offender registry from accessing social-media websites such as Facebook.

The high court, in a brief written order, agreed to take up the appeal of Lester Packingham, who was convicted of violating the social-media ban after a Durham, N.C., police officer in 2010 found a Facebook post in which the defendant happily announced the dismissal of a traffic ticket. "Man God is Good!" the post said.

Mr. Packingham in 2002 pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 13-year-old when he was age 21.

A North Carolina law enacted in 2008 prohibits sex offenders from accessing social-networking sites when the offender knows that the site allows minors to become members. The Supreme Court will consider whether that law is allowed under the Constitution.
Kent wrote here about Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's blanket order restoring the voting rights of about 200,000 felons in that state.  This afternoon, the Virginia Supreme Court nullified McAuliffe's order.

Full participation in democracy is, in the abstract, a good thing.  And doing what we can to bring back into the system felons who understand the wrongfulness of their behavior and have corrected it is part of that.  Restoring the vote for those who continue to believe (and, often, to act) as if law is for other people, and rules are for suckers, is a different matter. That would certainly seem to be more an abuse than a use of this aspect of executive power.

At the end of the story linked above, Gov. McAuliffe is reported to have said he would effectively defy any court order contrary to his liking:  "I will sign 206,000 orders. They will have their rights back that day."

He is welcome to proceed, as far as I'm concerned.  Signing 206,000 orders in a day will obviously reflect exactly the mass "consideration" the Court forbade today, and thus will earn McAuliffe a contempt citation.

UPDATE:  As the first commenter points out, I failed correctly to link the WTOP story.  I apologize for this error, which I have rectified.  That said, the story states, as I quoted, "I will sign 206,000 orders. They will have their rights back that day."  In other words, it makes crystal  clear that McAuliffe intends to attempt to do by poorly disguised indirection what the Court has forbidden, to wit, grant a mass  pardon.

Blanket Restoration of Felon Voting

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"No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be qualified to vote unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority."  -- Virginia Constitution, Article II, Section 1.

This provision is clearly intended to allow the Governor to restore voting rights, among other rights, upon an individualized determination that the person has actually "gone straight."  Is it limited to that?  Former Governor Tim Kaine (D) thought so.

Or does it empower a governor to effectively repeal the disqualification provision by entering a sweeping restoration of voting rights to all felons?  Present Governor Terry McAuliffe (also D) thinks so.  The WSJ has this editorial.

Why does Governor McAuliffe want more criminals to vote, whether they are rehabilitated or not?  Simple.  Criminals perceive -- correctly -- that on the whole Democrats are more likely to favor their interests as opposed to the interests of law-abiding people.  That tendency has been somewhat less pronounced in recent years than it was in earlier years, but the difference is coming back, as noted Bill's and my posts of Monday. 

Hence, criminals -- especially those who have not gone straight -- will vote for the Democratic Party in greater proportion than law-abiding people do, and in a close election the criminal vote may tip the scale.  After 2000, the Florida recount, and all that, we must recognized that such matters could have serious consequences.

The editorial notes that the Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments on the question Tuesday.
Jennifer Doleac, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, has this post with the above title on Brookings' site.

Life in prison is meant to be difficult. But it doesn't always get better once you're out. Re-entering offenders often have a tough time finding employment, even when they are motivated and able to work. But "ban the box" - a popular policy aimed at helping ex-offenders find jobs - doesn't help many ex-offenders, and actually decreases employment for black and Hispanic men who don't have criminal records. This is a classic case of unintended consequences. We should repeal "ban the box" and focus on better alternatives.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe today issued an order removing the disqualification from voting for felons who have completed their time, both in custody and on parole or probation.

Can he do that, constitutionally?  Of course.  Virginia Constitution Article V ยง12, the clemency power, is quite explicit on that point.

Why did he do it?  The primary reason, in my opinion, is that he expects that the criminal vote will go overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party versus the Republicans, and I believe he is correct on that.

The primary division in America today is not between rich and poor, labor and management, white and black, or any of the old divisions that have been prominent in the past.  The primary division is between people who believe in personal responsibility, obedience to the law, and work ethic, on one side, and those who do not along with their apologists, on the other.

Gov. McAuliffe believes that those who do not are more likely to vote for his party, and that should send a strong message to those who do.

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